La Crosse News Anchor Shines Spotlight On Bullying

By now, most of us have seen the video of La Crosse Anchor Jennifer Livingston blasting a viewer for attacking her weight. She used the hurtful note as a way to help kids affected by it. It's something your child's school tries to teach as well.

October is national anti-bullying month. Unfortunately, according to the American Justice Department, one in four students is a victim of bullying. But the Wausau School District is working to change that statistic one student at a time.

For years now, the district has had what it calls "Safe School Ambassadors." It teaches students how to intervene in a bullying situation. The district also has a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program, or PIBS. This program takes a proactive approach to behavior, teaching students how to behave positively in every situation. But the most important tool in combating bullying is teamwork.

"To be effective for kids, we need parents on board. We need our staff members on board. We need our kids on board. We just need a full team approach because sometimes what a teacher might not see a parent is recognizing in the home or what a parent might not see at school, our school personnel are observing," Director of Pupil Services, Jeff Lindell, told NewsChannel 7.

"The interesting thing that occurs in schools is adults walk down the hallways and things look pretty good. Kids are behaving and treating each other well and then as the adult leaves the area, that's when things start to occur," Lindell said.

Students are encouraged to take steps from escorting a student out of the situation to reporting bullying to an adult.

The program is working. Reducing the number of bullying cases through positive peer pressure.

Lindell adds that it is important to remember we're dealing with kids and that kids do make mistakes. But he is a firm believer that with a little positive intervention bullying can and will be stopped.

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