Local girl speaks out about bullying - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Local girl speaks out about bullying

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President Obama held a summit to address the bullying problem in America on Thursday.  He says it's something we can't ignore and that we don't have to accept.  So KSFY found out how a local school district handles the problem.

As a victim of bullying, Callie Burris knows how bad it feels.  She says, "when I was bullied I though that nobody would want to be my friend again.  I didn't have very many friends to begin with, but then it felt like nobody would ever accept me again," but these days sixth grader at Patrick Henry Middle School is doing much better.

She says what helped a lot was telling an adult what happened, "it really helps to be able to tell someone and share what you're going through."

This is just one of the rules Callie's school uses to prevent bullying under the Olweus Method, which encourages telling an adult, whether you're the victim or just an onlooker.

Dr. Bill Smith with the Sioux Falls School District says no one can remain silent about bullying.  He says, "bullying survives because people don't do anything about it," and it's important to get parents and community members involved in the fight to stop it, because bullying has changed over the years."

These days bullying can follow students even after they leave the school building.  He says, "we've had cases of what people would call cyber bullying."

That's when students text each other mean things, or put taunting posts about others on facebook.  Dr. Smith says if the district can prove these actions hurt a student's learning process, they can punish the offender.  He says, "bullying isn't going to be tolerated in our school district."

Because as Callie Burris knows, bullying hurts.  She says, "it just makes people feel like they're nothing and its not good to make people feel that way."

Dr. Bill Smith says the district punishes bullies through routes like in school and out of school suspension, but he says they also offer counseling to both the victim and the bully.

Dr. Smith says there is usually wrong in a bully's personal life to make him or her act that way...and it's best to take care of the problem as early as possible.

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