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Updated 03/16/2012 05:00 AM
State of Education: School bullying
It's a school subject that has been and will continue to be an issue: school bullying. Vince Gallagher reports.
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"We are concerned that it's a huge threat to kids sometimes physically but more often psychologically," said Margaret Puzio, Batavia Superintendent of Schools.
And that threat is huge. In fact, a recent study shows New York is the second worst state when it comes to avoiding school bullying, coming in right behind California. This one of the reasons the school district looked into the Olweus prevention program.
"Psychologically, bullies are as interested in having peer support and popularity as anybody else," said Puzio.
But the actions also affect academic performance. For example, it's estimated that each day nearly 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied. Then there's the bullying you see and the bullying you don't see, which of course can make the situation more difficult.
“But making students aware of the fact that they play a role in making other kids feel safe in school and feel good about themselves is an important part of the programs," said Puzio.
The Olweus prevention program, which raises awareness on school bullying, is all encompassing approach. It offers training for teachers and advice for parents, plus outlines these four expectations for the participating school district.
“We will not bully others, we will try to help other students who are bullied, we will try to include students who are left out and if we know someone who is being bullied we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home," said Puzio.
This also includes speaker presentations and classroom workshops on school bullying. And while this program has just started, it's here to stay.
New York State is calling to get tough on bullying, and as this issue is not going away, many schools are looking into similar approaches as the Batavia district.