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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

education

Local schools resist bullying, offer resources

The Monroe County Community School Corporation is raising awareness for its anti-bullying programs during October, bullying prevention month.

MCCSC Director of Student Services Becky Rose said it is tough to define how many cases of bullying occur.

“We definitely have incidents in all 22 of our buildings,” she said. “It’s an issue for every school corporation.”

Rose said bullying is a multi-dimensional interaction, and MCCSC sees all sides of it.
“Males tend to bully each other more outwardly and physically,” she said. “Girls tend to exhibit more relational aggression, just leave each other out.”

Cyber bullying is also a reality at MCCSC.

“A lot of people talk about cyber bullying and think it’s on the rise,” Rose said. “But honestly, we’re seeing it’s as prevalent or less so than face-to-face bullying. It’s still an issue, but not as much as some people believe.”

In MCCSC’s 2010-11 Comprehensive Health Issues Committee survey on Health Education and Wellness, faculty and staff were asked about many aspects of schooling, including bullying.

According to the survey, 47.3 percent of faculty and staff said bullying is reported to them only once or twice a year, with 24.9 percent of staff members hearing incidents two to three times a month, and 15.2 percent never hearing anything.

The three most common types of bullying reported were verbal, rumors and exclusion. Physical bullying is fifth on the list.

According to the survey, 75 percent of faculty and staff said they are familiar with the resources they can use to address bullying prevention and intervention.

Rose said MCCSC has started programs on bullying awareness and prevention.
Bullying prevention programs are different for each level of school.

“In elementary school we use an evidence-based curriculum called Second Steps,” Rose said.

Rose said all schools have a social worker who can coordinate prevention activities, and MCCSC teaches students to be an “upstander” for their peers.

“At middle school, we have a mix-it-up day, where we have kids sit with different groups at lunch to raise their awareness about cliques,” Rose said.

“In high school we use tutorial homeroom times to show students clips of bullying and discuss them.”

Rose said she believes the first step to stopping bullying is acknowledging it exists.

“I don’t feel like bullying has increased strongly over the years, but society has definitely become more aware of it,” she said.

“That can make it seem like bullying has increased, but it’s a good thing. Society sees it as an issue that needs to be addressed, and giving it more attention is key in preventing it.”

— Stephen Kroll

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