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January 23, 2013

Strike Out Bullying event coming to ROMS

U.S. attorney, FBI agent, Tigers pitcher to talk about online bullying

By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — With how many odd occurrences, from bullying to fake profiles, take place on the Internet, Royal Oak Middle School was glad to host a special Strike Out Bullying event when approached by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

At 5 p.m. Jan. 24, the ROMS auditorium will be filled with about 700 parents and students looking to learn about the dangers of the Internet and strategies to keep children protected in the online realm.

“We are aware of the risks to students that exist within the social-media realm,” Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said, adding that the district wants to provide resources to both parents and students.

Although social-media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others offer students easy ways to connect outside the classroom and away from parental guidance, Lewis-Lakin said there haven’t been any big online bullying problems within the district that he’s aware of.

“I can’t point to any specific incidents,” Lewis-Lakin said.

Joining Lewis-Lakin as the primary speakers at the event will be U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Roth and FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III. U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Information Officer Gina Balaya did not return several messages last week seeking additional input on the night’s discussion points.

However, two local celebrities may be the ones drawing more interest from many planning to attend. Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Phil Coke and Fox Sports Detroit broadcaster Mario Impemba are both slated to speak, as well.

“The Detroit Tigers incorporated this into their Winter Caravan Tour,” Lewis-Lakin said. “(The U.S. Attorney’s Office is) really doing the bulk of the presentation. The Tigers are the icing on the cake. The Detroit Tigers and U.S. Attorney’s Office and Royal Oak schools are all doing this together. We were thrilled to be able to do it.”

Administrative Assistant Paula Sutterfield said there were about 90 tickets remaining out of 700, with two weeks to go until the Strike Out Bullying event. Lewis-Lakin said Jan. 14 that the district was opening up the tickets to everyone that week so the event would sell out, although the tickets are free to the public. The first 610 tickets had gone only to Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools’ families and Shrine Catholic School families.

The admission tickets will also double as raffle tickets, as the Tigers will be raffling off game tickets and other Tigers prizes.

Tickets are available in the ROMS Main Office, 709 N. Washington, during school hours and at the board office, 1123 Lexington Blvd. For more information, call (248) 435-8400.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Chris Jackett at cjackett@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1110.