Tips on how to combat bullying

Hopi Jr/Sr High School students, parents and staff learn ways to reduce intimidation

POLACCA, -- Students, parents and staff at Hopi Jr/Sr High School learned how to address bullying during recent presentations at the school.

Leonard Talaswaima, coordinator, and Tammy Tootsie-Trottier, prevention educator at the Hopi Guidance Center gave presentations to the students during the day and then addressed parents in the evening about bullying.

They said that student solutions to bullying include asking for help, learning Tae Kwon Do and talking to someone they trust if they feel they are being bullied.

Talaswaima said that students should not accept bullying and that students should make bullying "uncool."

"It takes students, staff and parents to reduce bullying," he said.

The Arizona legislature passed a law in 2005 that calls on schools to address bullying. The law states that schools should prescribe and enforce policies and procedures to prohibit bullying.

The definition of bullying can include physical or verbal abuse, intimidation and cyber-bullying.

Tootsie-Trottier said bullying can interfere with the educational process. It can also lead to depression, loneliness and sometimes suicide.

"Bullies are concerned with their own pleasure and power," she said.

The symptoms of someone who is being bullied can include torn clothing, missing items, unexplained cuts and lost interest in school.

Talaswaima said if a parent thinks their child is being bullied that they should talk with teachers and counselors at the schools to see that the problem is addressed. They should also report the bullying to the school.

He added that if someone's child is bullying another child that the child committing the bullying should face clear and consistent consequences.

For more information, telephone the Hopi Guidance Center at 737-2586.

(Stan Bindell, former Observer editor, is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)

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