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Students learn about bullying
November 07, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Last year, the “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” program was such a success, it’s going on again this week in the Gering schools.

“Last year was my first time with the program,” said Gene Russel, who teaches computers in the elementary schools. “It was informational about the types of bullying, what bullying is, and how kids can respond.”

The computer department takes care of the program because of the increasing amount of cyber bullying, which takes place online.

“Cyber bullying takes place all the time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites,” Russel said. “We’re teaching lessons in every elementary school in the district. Also this week, JaCee Pilkington, Miss Nebraska, will be coming to talk to each school about bullying.”

During the week, students get to re-enact bullying scenarios and discuss how they would handle the situation.

“Bullying’s been around forever, so it’s not going away,” Russel said. “A lot of it is human nature, but now we’re giving students the tools they need to handle it.”

Russel said the nature of bullying has changed over the last 10 years or so because of online technology. “With social media, there are a lot more avenues for bullying to occur. It used to just be person-to-person, but now it can be completely anonymous. Students need to learn how to protect themselves from it. That’s what we’re teaching this week.”

He added about 1,200 to 1,500 K-6 grade students will receive the instruction. Students will learn about how to stay safe and how to handle bullies.

“We practice the Bulldog Way in the schools,” Russel said. “We let it be known there’s zero tolerance for bullying and that’s expected for both teachers and students. It’s not OK for anyone to hear bullying going on.”
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