WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – When adults act swiftly, they show children they will not tolerate bullying in any way, shape or form.
Community outreach coordinators agree that it is especially important to implement anti-bullying programs in the schools to benefit students of all ages.
Hands are not for hitting, feet are not for kicking, teeth are not for biting and words are not for hurting.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me and how names do hurt us we even mention Thumper, about the little bunny rabbit from Bambi. If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.Michelle Harriman, Wheeling YWCA Child Advocate
Michelle Harriman, who is a child advocate for the Wheeling YWCA Family Violence Prevention Program, spends time in the elementary classrooms in Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel Counties.
Harriman reads books like the popular children’s book Bambi to children. She says books are a great resource to teach young children about the effects of bullying.
According to stopbullying.gov, statistics show that one out of every five students report bullying.
The YWCA feels that educating students with awareness programs helps the youth deal with this issue. Harriman says these programs can reduce bullying by 25%.
Most definitely awareness programs in the school have helped get the word out about stop bullying. Together we can make a difference in their lives and make schools to be a safer place.Michelle Harriman, Wheeling YWCA Child Advocate
There are many learning lessons in the books.
They include teaching students the definition of the word bullying, teaching them that violence is never okay, and teaching children that they’re capable of having loving actions.
Walk away, find something else to do, someone else to play with and tell an adult.Michelle Harriman, Wheeling YWCA Child Advocate
Online or in-person, the threat still has the same consequences when it comes to bullying.
That’s according to Ohio County Teen Advocate Haley Reed, who works at the outreach office at Wheeling Park High School.
Reed offers extra support and says that Covid caused more isolation among teens and digital abuse or cyber bullying, as it is commonly referred to, became even more prevalent.
Our goal is to teach kids that this is not what high school is supposed to be about. It is supposed to be you’re worried about what someone is saying to you online. You’re worried about walking to class because people are going to hurt you.Haley Reed, Ohio Co. Teen Advocate
Reed says there are warning signs you can look for if you are concerned.
It can cause them to have more risk seeking behavior. It can cause them to start using illegal substances or alcohol vaping, tobacco. It can carry on into adulthood.Haley Reed, Ohio Co. Teen Advocate
Unfortunately, if bullying goes unnoticed, at a young age could continue the abuse into adulthood.
It can be emotional and mental violence and abuse and it’s important to let them know that once you’re an adult and it hits that point it is domestic violence.Haley Reed, Ohio Co. Teen Advocate
Abuse prevention experts say there are plenty of people to confide in when students feel they are being bullied.
She says those adults can include parents, teachers, guidance couselors and even your child’s pediatician.