Parents, teachers and anyone else concerned about bullying in schools are invited to a daylong program at Ruby's Inn and Convention Center on Friday.

Two workshops - one on bullying in the early grades, the other on bullying in middle school and high school - are scheduled, with national authors and educators leading the instruction.

The program is sponsored by Families First Montana, the nonprofit group that serves as a parental resource and holds classes and workshops related to children and parenting throughout the year.

The program is titled "Raising Peacemakers," and is broken into two parts.

The morning session is called "Stop, Think and Try a Better Way," an introduction to the Kelso's Choice curriculum, which was co-developed by Diane Hipp, a Missoula author and educator. Hipp will lead the workshop from 9 a.m. until noon.

After a lunch break, the "Steps to Respect" program, which has been adopted by the Missoula County Public Schools district, will be taught by Amy Foster-Wolferman and Marcy Otten, education specialists with the Safe Schools program housed at the University of Montana.

The afternoon session runs from 1-4 p.m.

The focus is not what school districts have done to address bullying, but what parents can do to help their own children who are being targeted by bullies within their own schools or other social frameworks.

"We want to prevent bullying at their level," said Families First executive director Coco Ballew. "That's our role. The schools have their role as well, and we feel this is an appropriate way for us to augment whatever other support systems are being offered."

Teachers can receive continuing education credits by attending one or both workshops.

Reporter Jamie Kelly can be reached at 523-5254 or at


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