CSU offers online anti-bullying course for local educators | TheUnion.com

CSU offers online anti-bullying course for local educators

Picture of CSU Fullerton Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies Dr. Karyl Ketchum, creator of the online anti-bullying course.
Submitted photo |

California State University Fullerton will offer a month-long online course which aims to provide educators with a better understanding of California’s anti-bullying laws, while also addressing the dynamics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-based bullying for schools across the country.

“I’m exceedingly proud of this course because it’s not just the contributions of one or two scholars,” course creator and CSU Fullterton Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies Dr. Karyl Ketchum said. “It’s actually the contribution of the most influential people in the field who have donated time to come into (CSU Fullerton) and recorded short video lectures that have become the course.”

As a full online course in its fifth iteration, Ketchum says teachers as far as Canada have taken the course, which is offered periodically throughout the year. The most recent course will begin Monday, and will explore California and federal anti-bullying laws through the testimony of specialized experts, administrators, teachers, parents and students.

“Our state has some really excellent anti bullying laws, some of the best in the country,” Ketchum said. “As we began to do our work helping educators to understand their obligations under the law, we came to find that very few educators in Orange County understood what the laws were.”

Ketchum, who has worked for CSU Fullerton for seven years, says that part of her research as a staff member has been to research bullying issues in K-12 schools around the state. Ketchum said she and partnering organizations gathered stories from students that experienced bullying, and also looked into the amount of information educators get in reference to LGBT student concerns.

“What we found through an informal study of 22 institutions, was there were very little, indeed, almost no information given to educators of what the needs or rights are for this student population,” Ketchum said.

In September 2010, Ketchum said there were a string of student suicides in the state from the LGBT student population which Ketchum said made her work even more important.

“It’s telling that it happened in the month of September because it happened when these kids went back to school,” Ketchum said. “So when we have students taking their own lives, adults need to be paying attention. So this was one of the ways we responded to this crisis in our schools is by putting together this course.”

Ketchum added, “I think that it’s a course born out of frustration and deep concern, and I think it’s been a very positive and highly effective response to these concerns.”

The course is organized as a series of eight multimedia learning modules developed and team-taught by scholars and professionals in the fields of education, psychology, health, public policy and the law. Educators who take the course may receive professional development credit.

Ketchum said a new and final module was added to the most recent edition of the course, which has video interviews with physicians who work with transgender students, and transgender students talking about what it is like to be transgender at their school.

“Some people may not be aware that somebody is transgender,” Ketchum said. “So this gives us an opportunity to educate toward this issue.”

The one-unit online course is $210, and also gives educators resources to research information on bullying laws.

“If they’re noticing some bullying, or harassment or discrimination under these categories the course teaches people what can they do to reset campus culture,” Ketchum said. “So it’s very practical in that approach.”

To register for the course through University Extended Education call 657-278-5836.

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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