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Butler stands up to bullies

Gary Pinkerton, Director of Butler Parks and Recreation, and Carmelina Vargo of Mars, Founder of Parents for Pride, at the playground in Alameda Park Wednesday, april 23, 2014.

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By Emily Balser
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 5:24 p.m.

One of the biggest goals of Parents for PRIDE: Neighbors United for Compassion is to make cyber-bullying a crime in Pennsylvania.

“A lot of bullying is coming from online social media, and it's very, very destructive,” said Carmelina Vargo, a founder and president of the organization. “We're hoping that, once we get funding, we will take a proactive approach and meet with state and federal representatives to move ahead with this initiative.”

Parents for PRIDE was formed in 2012 by three mothers concerned about bullying in after-school sports.

“We got into bullying not only in youth sports, but after-school activities, anywhere in our neighborhood and electronically,” said Vargo.

The organization has partnered with Butler County Commissioners to designate May as Butler County Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, as part of its Bullying Prevention Neighborhood Watch Campaign.

“Our goal is to recognize that it takes all of us to come together,” Vargo said. “It's the schools' responsibility, it's the student's responsibility and it's the community's responsibility for bullying prevention.”

The organization is working to establish a Fun & Safe Kids newsletter and a parent support group to help protect children in Butler County.

The newsletter will be electronically distributed to schools and provide resources about bullying for students and parents. The parent-support group will be organized in conjunction with Sewickley Valley Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and will provide parents with an outlet to discuss bullying.

“Really, parents do need somewhere to go and talk about whether their child's been bullied,” she said.

Parents for PRIDE will receive a proclamation from the commissioners at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the county government center, 124 West Diamond St. in Butler.

County Commissioner A. Dale Pinkerton said that the commission recognizes the need for everyone to prevent bullying because it happens not only at school, but often during after-school activities.

“It's something that really does need to be talked about and worked on,” Pinkerton said. “I think it's a worthwhile cause for our community and our county, and I believe that we should work with it.”

Emily Balser is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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