StopBullying.gov reports 20 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 experience various types of bullying.
The New Salem-Almont School District has recently included intervention in classrooms that they say helps make a difference.
“Nowhere is perfect. We’re going to see things and kids being unkind to each other. We’re really trying to model what we want to see from children and just giving them tools to lecture them,” said Prairie View Elementary Principal Lauren Bennett.
Amanda Wald, the New Salem-Almont School District counselor, says bullying doesn’t always happen.
“We have a lot of students that will label bullying as a conflict situation when they just need help,” said Wald.
Wald teaches things like conflict resolution, acts of kindness and having a relationship with students, which she says are effective.
“We teach kids how to de-escalate situations with resilience, we teach kids how to stand up for themselves,” said Wald.
But now with technology at students’ fingertips, bullying often occurs through social media. According to StopBullying.gov, the latest survey finds 14 percent of students have been bullied electronically.
Emily Schmid, a grades 7-12 math teacher, says students don’t always understand the damage caused by cyberbullying.
“They really don’t realize it’s going to be online all the time, and I see the reaction that it’s going to affect the other person,” said Schmid.
And when it comes to punishment for bullying, Wald says it depends upon the situation.
“If it was that severe, we could suspend kids in or out of school and getting parents involved as well,” Wald said.
To help prevent bullying, students are taught five days a week how to be kind, how to be resilient and to be an overall better person.
School leaders say they’re working on a new system that will allow students to anonymously report bullying and other inappropriate behavior. They say the new system will be available next spring.