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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
School News
Valley Stream districts to host Parent University
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Wellness Committee members, from left, Dr. Scott Comis, Jill Vogel and Robert Milani invite parents to the April 29 program where they can learn how to communicate with their children on issues of bullying and substance abuse.

It’s time for parents to go back to school. But it will only be for a night.

The Valley Stream Interdistrict Wellness Committee will host its first Parent University on April 29, a program that has been in the works for several months. The topics will include bullying and drug and alcohol abuse.

Wellness Committee members say the purpose of this program is to give parents the tools they need to communicate effectively with their children about these subjects. “Our goal is to provide information that will help them understand problems facing their children,” said Jill Vogel, the director of guidance for the Central High School District and chairwoman of the committee.

The keynote speech will be “How to Bully Proof Your Kid” by Peter Harrell, a national trainer for the Verbal Judo Institute. He will speak to parents on how they can teach their children to be neither a bully nor a victim.

Harrell will discuss the behavior that parents can model at home for their children, and talk about how they can improve communication with their kids.

Parents will also learn how to monitor their child’s activity online, including on social media. Bullying has become an around-the-clock problem because of email, Facebook, text messaging and other programs. Vogel explained that parents need to do their part to stop these problems, which often start at a computer in the home and spill over into the schools. “This message really has to come from the families,” she said. “The schools can’t deal with this without parent support.”

Robert Milani, assistant principal at Central High School and a Wellness Committee member, said he is concerned that more children become involved in a single instance of bullying because of the technology available to them. “They can hide behind the computer or cell phone,” he said. “They’re more likely to get involved than they would in the past.”

After the speech, there will be three breakout sessions for parents to choose from. The first will be a question and answer session with Harrell about bullying. The other two will focus on drug and alcohol abuse.

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