POMEROY — The Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office and Victim Assistance Program brought together county and school officials in an effort to raise awareness for bullying prevention.
Nov. 13-17 is Anti-Bullying Week.
Superintendents from area schools, children services representatives, commissioners, law enforcement and juvenile court officials all signed a proclamation recognizing the week and encouraging people to stand up against bullying.
A news release from the Victim Assistance Program states, it is important that students who are being bullied know that they can go to their teachers, principals, school resource officers, or to their parents for help. It is important to remind your children that if they are being bullied, they should always tell two people: someone at school and someone at home.
Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical and mental health issues and are more likely to experience the following:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues persist into adulthood;
- Health complaints;
- Decreased academic achievement — GPA and standardized test scores — and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip or drop out of school.
Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:
- Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults;
- Get into fights, vandalize property and drop out of school;
- Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults;
- Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses or children as adults.
Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:
Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol or other drugs;
Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety;
Miss or skip school.
Nationwide, 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying, while the number is 20 percent in grades 9-12.
A total of 70.6 percent of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools, while 70.4 percent of staff have seen bullying. Sixty-two percent have witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41 percent have witnessed bullying once a week or more.
When bystanders intervene bullying stops within 10 seconds 57 percent of the time.
Bookmarks to raise awareness about bullying are being distributed to local schools by Prosecutor James K. Stanley and the Victim Assistance Program.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.