Conference takes aim at violence

admin | 1/25/2012, 7:30 a.m.

High school students talk their problems out

Bullying is an aspect of childhood that many people can identify with. More and more bullying is becoming less acceptable as a right-of-passage during adolescence. This past Friday, January 20th, the Jonathan Spikes Foundation held an anti-bullying and conflict resolution workshop to help Miami-Dade Public Schools school students address their problems without violence. Once upon a time when I was growing up I was taunted and bullied, said Jonathan Spikes, 41, founder of the Jonathan Spikes Foundation. I thought that we needed to address this issue in order to give the kids strategies and coping mechanisms that would teach them how to resolve issues without resorting to violence. Spikes added that he hopes the students will take all of the strategies they were taught and begin to incorporate them into their everyday lives. More than 800 students were in attendance at the Lets Talk It Out! workshop to get advice on working problems out through conversation as a positive alternative to choosing teen violence. I didnt want this program to only be about us giving them information, Spikes said. I wanted this to be an open discussion. Today we have started the conversation and hopefully from here we can listen to what they have to say and exchange some positive ideas. In a town-hall-style forum students were given the opportunity to contribute their ideas on solving problems without violence. Everything we discussed here today was very true, said, Aliyah Mcelhaneya, a 15-year-old Miami Norland Senior High School 10th grader. We have to be mature about the different situations that we are faced with. As young adults we have to talk things out first or even bring different situations to the adults. Spikes also spoke with the students about channeling their aggression through different avenues like sports, the arts and music. Students from seventeen middle and high schools, including Miami Northwestern and Miami Carol City Senior High Schools were also workshop participants. This was a great event and they should have more programs like this for high school students in the future, said Tyuana Lamar, a 16-year-old, Norland 10th grader. There a lot of students that like to bully other students just because they want to. I feel like these types of events help them to think twice about their actions. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com