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Part 1: Aggressive behavior discouraged

This is a three-part feature that explores the impact and effects of bullying, both in person and online. Some names in the articles have been witheld for privacy purposes. One part of this three-part series will be published every three weeks. Check back soon for the next installment, which will be published on Friday, Feb. 22. This article will focus on physical bullying and the percentage of students that engage in bullying activities each year.

Teasing, name calling, rumors and threats all fall into the category of bullying, which is a growing concern among many parents, teachers and students. Though the effects of bullying can be extreme, not many schools implement no-tolerance policies for bullying or abuse. Almost every person has either been involved in a bully situation or observed such behavior from their peers, making bullying a universal issue on campuses around the country.

As defined on StopBullying.com, bullying is considered to be unwanted, agressive behavior among peers that involves a real or perceived power imbalance that is repeated over time, which can give both the bully and bullied students lasting problems. By using power, either physical or socially, the bully often excerpts their imbalance of power to control or harm their peers.

From the results of the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, it shows that over 20 percent of high school students have dealt with bullying throughout the nation, while 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 experienced bullying in some form according to the 2008?2009 School Crime Supplement statistics.

Though physical bullying often occurs at school, a significant percentage also shows that it can happen on playgrounds, buses and neighborhoods.

For campus students, bulling is dealt with depending on the number of occurrences, starting with a report filed by parents or the victim to the office. Principal Todd Bennett states his investigation would follow the rules stated in Section 7 of the Student Handbook.

“The first step is for the victim or the victim’s parents to report the bullying behavior to me,” Bennett said. “From there, an investigation is conducted with both sides given due process. According to our school policy, bullying is a degree of one infraction. This means, that after the investigation, if it is determined that bullying has occured, then I would follow the written policy for disciplinary action.”

By conducting the investigation, the hope of the administration is for the inappropriate behavior to be stopped, Bennett said. But, if the bulling continues Bennett may take a more agressive approach. In order to stop the aggressive behavior before it reaches extremes, the administration encourages students to report such instances.

“The goal of all disciplinary action is for the inappropriate behavior to cease and desist and for there to be restoration,” Bennett said. “However, in the case of continuous bullying, after the first occurrence and consequences, if the bullying continues, then it would also be considered direct defiance of school rules/personnel, which can be dealt with by expulsion from school on the second occurrence.”

The next installment in this three-part feature will focus on the effects of cyber bullying, including campus students and their personal stories.

For more features, read the Jan. 29 article, Students anticipate NOTS, movies create good times.

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