October is National Bullying Prevention Month, Thanks to the Little Organization that Could and Did

In the year 1977, Jimmy Carter was President, Elvis Presley died, the Yankees won the World Series, the neutron bomb was developed, and PACER was founded by a small group of Minnesota-based parents concerned with improving the lives of children, many with disabilities. 

The PACER timeline is meteoric in the world of non-profits.  Between 1979, teaching kids about inclusion with their Count Me In puppet show, to 2006 with the launch of PACER Kids Against Bullying, an interactive Web site to help children deal with and prevent bullying, there were plenty of milestones that could have foretold their success, but it was the Internet that pushed both the mission and the message of bully prevention into the international spotlight.    (more…)


Juvenile Detention: Why We Don’t Care and Why We Should

We’ve had a search engine dream to find two things:  Who in hell invented louvered windows and who first said “Lock ‘em up and throw away the key.”  Although they both still prevail, both concepts seem hopelessly outdated in the 21st Century.

Until they can afford a retrofit most residents can live with those drafty louvers, but I’m not so sure about the “throw away the key” mantra proffered by strict law-and-order advocates.   It’s almost like a cheer that goes up every time a juvenile is sentenced to life without parole. (more…)


University Students Lead the Charge Against Sexual Assault

This fall, when University of Southern California incoming freshmen browse the Neon Tommy website they’ll be greeted with an open letter to them by Alexa Schwartz, co-founder of USC’s Student Coalition Against Rape [SCAR], a group of student and faculty rape survivors and activists who are dedicated to changing the culture of rape on campus.

Back in the day, a breaking scandal could be hidden in the newspaper’s Saturday edition page 3, but today, the headline, USC Mislabels Sexual Assault to Keep Crime Numbers Low; Clery Complaint Says, is jet-streaming across the web.  As the story soars, it’s evident that there is a growing culture of strength as Millennials take a stand against sexual violence in any form, for any reason, at any time, under any circumstance.  (more…)


Counterculture of Compassion Shines A Light on Heroic Acts

Preventing the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy elementary school from becoming the Sandy Hook of the South, the heroism of Antoinette Tuff, the DeKalb County school district bookkeeper who averted a shooting rampage at risk to her own life, became one of the biggest news stories of the week.

Commenting on Tuff’s actions and her motivation, Orlando Weekly journalist, Steve Schneider’s blog, A negotiated peace: Antoinette Tuff and the new culture of compassion, suggests “…we now may be seeing the emergence of a new culture of compassion – a counterculture of compassion, it might be more accurate to say. And its leaders will be people like Antoinette Tuff.  People who, even when they’re momentarily forced to be scared of each other.” (more…)