Bullying prevention on educators’ minds

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THORNTON, Colo. -- To date, more than 9,000 educators, school mental health professionals and safety teams have been given training in how to identify bullies and their victims.

“We want to give these folks the educational tools they need to help carry out the new laws relating to bullying,” said Christine Harms, of the School Safety Resource Center. “House Bill 1254 strengthened Colorado’s bullying prevention efforts by protecting students from attacks based on disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry or the need for special education services.”

The seminar was presented by the Bullying Prevention Institute, and their message is clear: bullying is a serious problem and not a rite of passage. They say too many students in Colorado are being bullied and some are more likely than others to be picked on because of their special circumstances.

The group reports that 19 percent of high school students reported being bullied on school grounds. Another 20 percent say they have been cyber-bullied, and 87 percent of gay and lesbian students reported being verbally bullied based on their sexual orientation.

Bullying has serious long-range academic and emotional consequences, which is why the new law was passed and why seminars such as this one are critical to preventing suicides and violent actions by those being picked on.
The hope is these sessions will give people who work with kids the tools to deal with problems bullying can cause.