High schools take a stand against bullying
Special to The Union
High school can be hard enough for some students, but adding ridicule, rude remarks and even physical violence can potentially have life-long negative effects on adolescents.
Due to this growing issue, the Nevada Joint Union High School District is taking action against bullying.
The district is in the process of installing a new program called the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP). Bear River first introduced this program to the staff during a staff development day. On Oct. 1, the day was dedicated to learning about this program, with students not attending school while their teachers were participating in a workshop designed to teach bullying prevention techniques.
In order to give the faculty some perspective on the issue, they were asked to recall some of their own experiences from high school.
“When I was in high school, one of my peers that did not quite fit in was always getting picked on by one of my friends,” said Chris Bean, Bear River activities director and teacher. “One day, in the locker room, the kid tried to fight back a little bit and ended up getting beat up by my friend.
“One of the things I regret the most is that I did not step in from the beginning. I should have stopped it.”
Recalling their own mistakes in high school allowed teachers to remember what being a teenager was like and how impactful bullying can be on one’s high school experience. The staff members were then asked to role play. They acted out a scene with a bully, a victim and a bystander. This activity was meant to provide a clear visual of a scenario that should be stopped.
“The main purpose is to teach people to have the confidence and willingness to step up and put a stop to bullying,” said Bear River Principal Jim Nieto.
As technology changes, so does the culture of teenagers. This includes their methods of bullying. Cyber bullying is quickly becoming one of the largest issues in America. According to http://www.DoSomething.org approximately 43 percent of kids admit to having been bullied on the Internet.
The biggest difference in cyber bullying is that it does not end when the school day is over; it can follow a victim home on their computer or cell phone. The website also states that a victim of bullying is between two to nine times more likely to consider committing suicide.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is designed to create a positive, safe learning environment for all students. It focuses on social media aspects as well as school issues. This program also claims to be the most researched and the best-known bullying prevention program in the United States.
ViolencePreventionWorks.org says this program provides, “50 percent or more reductions in student reports of being bullied and bullying others. Peer and teacher ratings of bullying problems have yielded similar results. Significant reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior such as school bullying, vandalism, school violence, fighting, theft, and truancy were also noted.”
The reduction of bullying not only would provide students with a better overall environment, but parents can be satisfied that the school district is aware and actively preventing bullying to the best of their abilities.
Shelby Angus is a Bear River High School senior.
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