East Texas school prepares students on how to handle bullies

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE)-They're only in fourth grade with a lot to learn but they already know what a bully is.

"People called names and they just said stuff that wasn't really true about me," said fourth grade student Abbie Castleberry.

"They're picking on you and bothering you," said fourth grade student Jennings Sanders.

"They just bullied me, just kind of punched and all that," said fourth grade student Chandler Bledsoe.

Cases of bullying across the nation have brought light to the seriousness of the issue.  Huntington ISD updated their policy on bullying telling everyone to be on the alert for the problem.

"You know it has only been here of late that we've been tracking numbers and actually dealing with it because of the attention that we've gotten," explains Huntington ISD Superintendent Eric Wright.  "We've always tried to deal with it and make our kids comfortable, but now we actually have a formal policy that we follow."

Wright said they're trying to teach the kids more than just what to do if you're bullied, they're encouraging them to look out for each other.

"If you are a student and you hear another student being victimized or you feel like someone is doing something that's inappropriate, we teach them strategies and skills on how to handle that situation," said Wright.

He said the new policy seems to be working, the principals are taking it much more seriously and students are learning how to respond to the problem.

"I thought they needed to stop and that's really, really rude because you don't bully people, it's just rude because people don't deserve that," said fourth grade student Mallory Kelley.

"If the teacher thing doesn't work, no matter what, no matter how much trouble you'll have to do something about it," explained Bledsoe.  "You may have to fight back a little, but I try not to."

"I would stand up for them and say to tell the teacher," said Castleberry.  "If that didn't help them, I would just say to ignore it."

They're learning to stand up for themselves and their classmates to slow a nationwide problem.

Wright said through their technology classes, they're also teaching students how to deal with cyber bullying on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

He said cyber bullying spills over into the schools and is just as disruptive as face to face bullying.

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