BUFFALO, NY - Bullying - it's a topic parents, teachers and students are discussing across the nation and in Western New York.
Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional.
2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing discussed the topic at length with students; how it happens, the impact it has on students, and the ways it's being combated in one local school district.
Alyssa says, "it's not the traditional give me your lunch money, it's more dirty looks and two word horrible slurs, just mean things."
Elizabeth is only 10-years-old and says, "I've been bullied now for a while now since kindergarten until now and it really hurt me and I don't want anyone else getting hurt. It doesn't feel good to get bullied. It makes you feel like no one appreciates you and it makes you feel like you're unwanted."
Child and Family Services has a Bullying Prevention Program that is in place in the Cheektowaga-Sloan Schools. Elementary school students are taught how to handle bullies and why they shouldn't bully.
In most cases, bullying is repeated over time. Traditionally, bullying has involved actions such as: hitting or punching (physical bullying), teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying). In recent years, technology has given children and youth a new means of bullying each other, it is called cyber-bullying.
Stop Bullying Now is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help students and parents. There are several tips on how to intervene and react on the spot to bullying.
If you are being bullied....
-Reach Out: Tell an adult. Sometimes you may have to tell more than one trusted adult. Ask your friends to help you.
-Be Cool in the Moment: Stay calm and confident. Don't show the bully that you're sad or mad. Ignore the bully and walk away. Fighting back can make bullying worse.
-Change the School Community: Work with others to stop bully behavior.
If you witness bullying...
-Interrupt It: Stand next to, or speak up for, the person being bullied.
Ask the bully to stop. Comfort the person being bullied and offer friendship.
-Get Help: Walk away and get help.
If you are the bully...
-Make a Commitment to Change: Talk to an adult, like a teacher or parent, about how to get along with others. Ask a friend to help you stop your bully behavior. Apologize to the kids you have bullied.
-Focus on Empathy and Responsibility: Think about what it feels like to be bullied -- would you want to be treated that way?
-Change Your Behavior: Resist peer pressure to bully.
If you start to bully, walk away and find something else to do.
Remember: You don't have to like everyone around you, but you have to treat everyone with respect.
According to the CDC, youth violence refers to harmful behaviors that may start early and continue into young adulthood.
Julie Fenn, of Child & Family Services can be contacted at 716 335 7164.