Can bullying be stopped in school? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Can bullying be stopped in school?

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By Ryan Houston - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) – Since the start of school in August, several students have committed suicide nationwide because of bullying. Bullying itself has been happening for years, but just recently it's shown itself to be deadly.

Bryce Burton said 'he hates the constant name-calling and teasing from his classmates'. His mom feels like students, teachers and parents need training on verbal bullying. The school, believes they're doing everything they can, to prevent it.

Burton is a 5th grader at Lake Park Elementary who owns a hamster named Flash. "I like to play soccer, I like to cook and play games on the computer," said Bryce Burton. 

But the names kids call him at school are something he doesn't like. "They call me gay, stupid, and ugly," said Burton. 

It happens at least twice a week, and he talks to his counselor when it does. "She just tells me to ignore it, and if they come by me, walk away," said Burton. 

Most of the bullying happens when the teacher isn't around. "She gets other people, like their witnesses. It's not true, what the other kids say, and she usually believes someone else," said Burton. 

"We don't want to turn a student off, and say we don't believe you. Because there can be dire consequences when you tell a child you don't believe him, when he knows it really happened," said Coordinator for Student Support Services  Barbra Turner.

"The attitude at school is we were bullied, we bullied people and made it. But look at how many of the kids don't make it," said Mom Christy Wingate. 

However, according to the Dougherty County School System, that's something they don't take lightly. "The verbal attacks are things we don't see all the time. But they hurt or pierce just as much. So that's something we're looking into, to do our best," said Turner. 

"I know they just passed a new bill about bullying, but I don't honestly see how they can deal with it," said Wingate. 

Schools say facing the problem head on is, what they're trying to do. "Number one, we have to be made aware of it. Once we know, then we must act. And we have to let the parent know what we're doing,"  said Turner.

"That's exactly what I hear. Unless somebody is physically beat at school, you never hear about the verbal abuse these kids go through at school," said Wingate. 

Until the problem is solved, Bryce has his own way of coping. "I tell them to just leave me alone, and they don't know who I am," said Burton. 

Physical wounds will heal, but it can take a life-time to get over words. Bullying doesn't just happen in elementary school. It can happen in high school, college and even in the workplace.

Recently the Dougherty County School System held sessions on bullying. They talked to students about not bullying, and even gave a test to see if students understood.

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