Posted at: 05/09/2011 10:56 PM
By: Laura Lee
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(ABC 6 NEWS) — We’ve been following the topic of bullying for weeks now.
According to a state survey released Monday, there’s more than a fifty percent chance a student in Minnesota has been bullied or bullied someone else.
Specialists say even though its unfortunate, the study released is not surprising and one of the biggest concerns is how bullying directly impacts student behavior.
Those whispers in the hallway can pack quite a punch.
“If you get negative, negative, negative all the time, over a period of time, its really going to wear on you,” says NAMI’s Executive Director Andrea Thomas.
And according to the survey, out of 130 thousand students surveyed, about 13 percent reported being bullied at least once a week.
“If someone is being bullied, they start to begin to believe what they are being told, its difficult to pull out of that especially if your not talking to someone about it,” says Thomas.
“When they think they can’t turn to anyone they turn to alcohol and drugs,” says Betsy Baker, who is an advocate for suicide prevention.
The study also says, students who bully or get bullied are less likely to earn A’s and B’s in school and skip school more often.
“The concentration in the class isn’t going to be the same, so then grades will go down and they will withdraw from their friends and isolate themselves,” says Thomas.
“Worst case scenario, when mental illness starts to present anxiety and depression, it can result in suicide,” says Baker.”
And the recent local student suicide deaths in the area should serve as a wake up call for everyone.
“I think this is a call to action, bullying is just unacceptable, these teen suicides are completely avoidable,” says Baker.
“It’s sad what happened, really unfortunate, they think they have to take care of it on their own,” says Thomas.
That’s why any intervention whether big or small, “it can be a smile, or just a how are you,” says Baker, can make the biggest impact and change the fate for anyone suffering from bullying.
“We owe it to our kids and our community,” she says.
And to help address the issue of bullying, schools like Lourdes High School is kicking off a campaign called Pause Before You Post to end cyber bullying.
Other initiatives include NAMI’s annual walk on May 14th for research and education on issues like bullying. Baker will also be hosting a forum in the fall about bullying and it will focus on suicide prevention.