This week we're taking a closer look at bullying, and how it could be affecting your children, in the series “Bullies Beware.”
Bullying doesn't just affect younger students.
We sat down with some seniors at Wausau East High School to get a better idea of what goes on in their hallways:
"You definitely see it on a day to day basis, not on a large scale but on a smaller scale with certain individuals, snide remarks that can be hurtful," says Victoria Campbell.
Three seniors at Wausau East High School say bullying is nothing new, and it's something they've dealt with throughout their school years.
Emma Osborn says “People get a reputation when they're young and they keep getting bullied throughout high school."
They say it's not hard to pick out the targets or the bullies.
Jessica Louis tells us, “It's a group of people that do the bullying and then certain individuals from different cliques that get bullied."
And the teens say they can't believe why some of the students are singled out.
"It's such a waste of time to hear some of the things they make fun of kids for,” says Victoria. “It’s ridiculous. Really, you're going to go that far to make fun of something so small."
She says some of her classmates are targeted because of how they look, what they wear, and even how they walk.
And even though the bullying is hard to watch, these students agree it's even harder to know when to step in.
Emma says, “It’s kind of hard to know what to do because if you try to stop them, then you could become the victim too but you feel bad because obviously you don't want someone to be bullied."
That's why there are several programs and clubs at Wausau East aimed at promoting tolerance and support for other students.
A counselor tells us the school has been a part of the Safe School Ambassador program for years, which teaches select student leaders and staff how to prevent and put an end to bullying.
They also have the Link Crew, a program to help freshmen transition into high school, and the Gay-Straight Alliance.
Plus the counselor says she and the other staff members try to be as visible as possible, so students always have someone to turn to.
The seniors say bringing students together to combat bullying is the key to putting an end to the all too common problem.
"So if you have friends that believe in the same thing you are and fight for the same things then it’s easier to stand up to other people," says Jessica.
Emma adds, "What’s the point? It’s so much easier to get along with everyone and be happy, I just don't get it."
The counselor says they plan to focus on getting more students involved in the Safe School Ambassador program next school year.
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