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Aug 20, 2013 11:32 AM by Ryan Haarer

Tucson school tackles bullying head on

TUCSON- In recent years school administrators have been paying more attention to bullying. it has the potential to hurt grades, and even worse hurt the children.

At La Paloma Academy teachers have adopted a standard being used across the country called Olweus. It's a comprehensive anti-bullying program that gives teachers tools to combat bullying year round. Teachers at La Paloma are taught to define bullying as a power difference, verbal or physical abuse, and something that happens over a period of time.

"It's more of a culture change for our school. Not just, come in for two weeks, let's talk about bullying, let's get all excited, and then two weeks after that, we forget about what we just talked about. So systematically we're really trying to use the definitions throughout the entire year," said Principal Steve Leininger.

The program is a researched based curriculum. Students are taught to follow four rules: don't bully, include students who are left out, help those who are being bullied, and perhaps most important, say something.

"The sad thing about our students being bullied is that they feel that they don't have a voice and they need to understand that you too have a voice. And, if you simply can tell one person that you feel comfortable with at school and at home, big brother, big sister, aunt, uncle, grandparents and any one of us at school, we will be able to help you."

Administrators say they are seeing some success already. These points will be hammered home throughout the year. Teachers are actually holding regular lessons on different bullying topics as outlined by the Olweus program.

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