Speaker series aims to prevent bullying

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A new initiative in the Brighton area is helping prevent bullying and ensure local teens stay healthy while navigating the challenges of growing up. Speak Out: Helping today’s students stay healthy and safe is a new series of free speakers, workshops and experiences to bring in local and national experts and resources to prevent bullying in the region.

Christine Coady of OK2Say Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative, will be the first speaker of the series and will present on Aug. 14 from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

Coady’s presentation will focus on helping students and their parents understand the importance of making safe and wise choices in a technologically evolving world. OK2Say shows students how to protect themselves and those around them by encouraging confidential tips on criminal activities or potential harm directed at students, school employees and schools. Coady also shares with parents what to watch for, and how to help their teens safely navigate the digital world.

“The consequences of students’ actions on the internet are real and can haunt them for years, if not longer,” said Ryan Gillis, school leader and principal of FlexTech High School of Brighton. Gillis and his school leader peers at the other FlexTech High Schools were inspired to start the series by their students.

“Many students come to our school because of bullying they’ve experienced in the past,” said Gillis. “It can take months to help them come out of their shells and heal from that. If we can help prevent any student from having to survive that, we have an obligation to do so.”

The second presenter in the Speak Out series is former Michigan State University basketball star Anthony Ianni, who will present on Aug. 23 from 6:30-8 p.m.

His presentation is a part of his Relentless Tour, where he has been going around the country and sharing his story of defying all odds by graduating from Michigan State University and being the first known individual with autism to play college basketball. The survivor of decades of bullying, he’ll share his triumphant story with students and families.

The doors for both events open at 6 p.m., and pizza and snacks will be provided at FlexTech High School’s Brighton campus, 7707 Conference Center Drive. Additional Speak Out events will be held throughout the fall.

RSVPs are appreciated, but not required. RSVP for the Aug. 14 Speak Out event with Christine Coady at https://bit.ly/2OiG9JT. RSVP to Aug. 23 Anthony Ianni Speak Out event athttps://bit.ly/2Og7yw4.

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