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Leadership class tackles bullying
Project also covers drug abuse, predators
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Forsyth County News
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For more information on the Leadership Forsyth class of 2009’s project, go online at

The 2009 graduating class of Leadership Forsyth aims to keep children safe from bullying, substance abuse and Internet predators.

Every year, participants in the community leadership development program work together on a class project.

This year, they are joining with the Forsyth County school system and an Atlanta-based multimedia education company to provide information on these issues to parents and students.

The group held a kickoff for “Keeping Kids Safe” on Thursday at the school district’s offices.

Leadership Forsyth class member Kristin Morrissey said the group’s choice for a class project was based on a 2006 survey that measured community needs. At the top of the list were bullying, drug abuse and awareness of Internet predators.

“The idea is parent awareness because these things are out there and some parents just don’t know how to deal with them,” Morrissey said.

She said bullying is an especially timely issue with the recent death of an 11-year-old Atlanta child, whose family said he committed suicide after being bullied by peers.

Morrissey said the materials Leadership Forsyth members plan to share with the school district will help parents recognize bullying.

“Many parents don’t realize they need this information,” Morrissey said. “We’re hoping by having it easy to get at and publicizing it through the schools ... it will make a difference for children and their parents.”

Leadership Forsyth members will help distribute and publicize the materials, which address the issues through video and Web-based parent education resources.

Connect with Kids, a multimedia education company, provides learning materials and access to online parent and student resources.

Materials also will be available in local schools and through the Forsyth County Public Library.

The leadership class worked with the South Forsyth High School chapter of DECA, an international association of marketing students, to market and fund the “Keeping Kids Safe” project.

Project funding came through a grass-roots campaign among the parent teacher organizations in local middle schools and businesses and civic organizations. Class members may also organize a community fundraiser to help cover costs.

“I personally think these materials are going to be very helpful for members of this community,” Morrissey said.

Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Buster Evans agreed.

“This project truly defines the essence of servant leadership,” Evans said. “Our leaders connect with our children. Therefore, our community becomes stronger.”

Past Leadership Forsyth projects have included a treehouse on Sawnee Mountain, a garden at the senior center and a program to help at-risk middle and high school students graduate.

E-mail Frank Reddy at