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Bully Buster Week aims to stop bullies

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Aug. 27, 2010 at 3:27 a.m.

Rosanne Wagner, a case worker for the Cuero school district, explains how to stop bullying during a presentation for Bully Buster Week at Cuero Intermediate School on Friday.

Bullying by the NumbersEvery seven minutes a child on an elementary playground is bullied

74 percent of 8-11-year-old students say teasing and bullying occur at their schools

More than 5.7 million youth are estimated to be a target of bullying, a bully or both

According to the American Medical Association, more than 3.2 million youth are victims of moderate or serious bullying each year.

Source: Bullying Prevention For Schools, by Allan L. Beane, Ph. D.

CUERO - The lunchtime cafeteria was crowded when 11-year-old Audrey Saenz saw a classmate being bullied.

"I felt so sad," she said. "People being treated like that - it's not right."

Later, she saw the same classmate draw pictures of how he was going to kill himself.

Friday, the entire school gathered in the same cafeteria, raised small stop signs and cried out to stop bullying as a part of the district's Bully Buster Week program.

"We're taking a very hard stance on it this year," said Principal Bill Hamilton.

The program was expanded from a one-day program last year to a week because the issue has become more serious, said Rosanne Wagner, case manager for Safe Schools Healthy Students program.

"A lot of people are killing themselves," she said of the national bullying problem.

She noted that most bullying begins with a child who is bullied at home or is seeking attention by bullying others. Those who are the victims often carry the stigma with them through life.

"It does start young, and it does start when they're little, and it just get's progressively worse," she said.

Wager hopes to expand the program next year into something students will organize themselves.

Friday, teachers poked fun at each other and acted out bullying situations on the cafeteria stage while students watched.

Afterward, Wagner appeared dressed in a giant stop sign and explained how to stop bullying.

"Take a stand for your fellow classmates," she said, encouraging the students to report bullying.

"We're not going to have anybody intimidated on this campus or in the district," Hamilton said. "...We're working with all of our kids to make them feel comfortable in talking to somebody to help reduce the bullying situation throughout the district."

Audrey said she believes she learned more about preventing bullying and has reported the situation before.

She gave her advice to other students to do the same.

"Try to be good and if, like, you see bullying, tell the teacher or tell the counselor," Audrey said. "Or go up after the student and say, 'are you OK.'"

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