Bates hosts discussion of harassment prevention program

Local high school students and staff will join Steve Wessler, director of the Maine Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, for a discussion of the “Unity Project,” a multiyear harassment prevention program built around the use of peer influence, at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14, in Chase Hall Lounge, Chase Hall, 56 Campus Ave., Bates College. The public is invited to attend the event, co-sponsored by the Harward Center for Community Partnerships and the education department at Bates, free of charge. For more information, please call 207-786-8235.

The presentation represents part of the curriculum for “Education Reform and Politics,” a Bates education and sociology course in which students study promising practices in civic and citizenship education. Bates has hosted the Unity projects in Lewiston since 2001.

The Unity Project began in 1999 in response to a need expressed by Portland High School. The project places students at the center of its process because it views them as the key agents of school change. In fall 2001, the program expanded its work to include schools in Lewiston, and the project expanded in 2003 to include Portland’s Lyman Moore Middle School and several schools in Auburn.

According to Unity Project, its workshops have helped to produce a significant decline in the amount of worry and concern expressed by students in their schools. Students have reported a reduction in harassment and bullying and an increase in positive academic, extracurricular and social interaction across social groups.

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