Human rights conference to focus on adolescent behavior


Kitsap County writer

The Kitsap County Council for Human Rights recently announced plans for its 17th annual conference, which will center around studying adolescent behavior.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Henry Berman, a pediatrician and specialist in Behavioral Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital, who will address anomalies in adolescent behavior and how parents and teachers can compensate.

The conference will be from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 at the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside.

“The Council on Human Rights is charged with the responsibility of gathering information and reporting to the county commissioners,” said Bob Dietz, who represents Central Kitsap on the council. “Dealing with issues of bullying and how to understand the teenage brain falls within these boundaries.”

Berman’s address, called “Catch a Falling Teen,” discusses “School Refusal Behavior” and its categorization as a clinical diagnosis.

He will explore the reasons for the sudden downturn in grades for a seventh- or eighth-grader, and the different types of Attention Deficit Disorders.

Following Berman, social worker Sue Eastguard will guide attendees through a process designed to recognize stress in children.

The conference also will include breakout sessions about bullying in schools, homeless children, immigrant children and the rights of Christian children in public school.

Last year, the conference drew about 300 people, many from the education community.

Council Member Kris Danielson of South Kitsap favors switching the conference to a Saturday because it now requires educators who attend to take a day off from classes.

This, she said, needlessly disrupts the schools.

“With all the teachers taking time off, we have to hire substitutes,” she said. “I think the costs outweigh the benefits. But I bet we’d get a lot fewer people if it was held on Saturday where they would have to attend on their own time.” 

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