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Schools Give Students Tools to Fight Back Against Bullies

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Original Title:
Schools Give Students Tools to Fight Back Against Bullies

Every week nearly 800,000 schoolchildren choose not to go to school because of bullying, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. However, a new campaign to teach kids how to deal with bullies is helping put an end to the problem.

The NCPC says 52 percent of children report being bullied at least once a week, and 60 percent say they know someone who could hurt them.

Gordon DeMello said when first began attending Sylvan Middle School other students used to pick on him. "I used to get pushed around, made fun of because I was shorter than everybody," he said. "Because I wasn't in a certain group."

DeMello said an anti-bullying campaign on campus changed the atmosphere at school. When Principal Jim Shoemaker arrived at the school last year, he decided to let students know bullying is not allowed there. Students are now encouraged to report bullies and stand up for themselves. Those found to be bullies face harsh penalties.

Students at Sylvan Middle School are also encouraged to participate in the "Be Bold" program, which seeks to have students work together to prevent violence. "We often do skits and we go into their classrooms and show them and give them strategies on how they can help themselves," said Cheyenne Williams of the Be Bold program.

The National Youth and Violence Resource Center recommends a series of steps parents and children should take if bullying is a problem. First, students and their parents should know the school's policies on bullying and harassment and what actions can be taken if it occurs. Second, the center recommends encouraging children to stand up for themselves and try to resolve issues by talking them out. If the problem persists, the center adivses parents and children to document each incident as evidence. Children should be encouraged to tell someone if they are being picked on. Many children keep bullying a secret.

The NYVRC encourages parents to look for warning signs of bullying, which can include unexplained cuts and bruises, anxiety, reluctance to go to school, or a sudden drop in grades.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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