State of Education: Targeting bullying in schools
It can happen in or out of school, in person or by other means of communication -- school bullying. The New York State Senate recently passed anti-bully legislation. Vince Gallagher reports.
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Many school districts are coming up with increasingly creative ways to deal with bullying. For example, at the Cohoes School District, it was RespectFest.
"It's a day of events where we have right now going on six different team building activities where the kids are rotating from different groups," said Andrea Destefano, a teacher and volunteer.
Including the human knot and a tug of war. While working as a team, at the same time, these groups aren't necessarily with their normal "clique."
"And that's the whole idea, having respect and tolerance for each other and building and fostering new networks of friends," said Destefano.
Other stations included a Scrabble-like project where character traits are literally spelled out for you, and there were also hula hoops.
"They have to stand in line and hold hands and if they don't hold hands then they have to start all over again, so if people don’t like each other, they really have to suck it up and hold hands, and it's disrespectful to not," said one student, Molly Irvine.
And while this can be a fun event, it also focuses on a serious issue. For example, it is estimated that nearly 160,000 students miss school a day just to avoid school bullying.
"It's really sad when kids don't want to come to school because they're being bullied, so when they get bullied they should get help and talk to somebody about it," said Marlowe Reardon, a student.
So events like these are becoming more and more popular. Whatever the activity is, the real foundation is student connection
"And hopefully more activities like this will kind of tear down those walls those students build between one another and foster some positive attitudes and connectiveness with one another," said Destefano.
In addition, New York State will be getting tougher on school bullying. In fact, the Dignity for all Students Act, which passed during the 2011 legislation session and aims to end discrimination and harassment in school, will take effect very soon, on July 1st of this year.