Local experts talk bullying, suicide
The father of a Columbine shooting victim will be in Albany Thursday morning to talk about ways to address bullying. Local officials say they'll be paying close attention.
They say it hasn't been a problem here, but they also want to stay on top of it so it doesn't become one.
Even when the schools are empty bullying is still something that's heavy on the minds of school administrators.
"We have to tackle it head on because children and youth are very impulsive. If a child in this day and age says I'm going to get you, we gear up for that," said Dr. Joshua Murfree.
Of course it's not just traditional bullying, but cyber bullying that they're worried about.
"When a child begins to report that they are getting very strange text messages or very strange e-mails and they are not sure where it is coming from, it needs to be taken serious," said Dr. Murfree.
Psychologists say both forms can have some have serious impacts on the well-being of a child.
"Half the children that commit suicide have been bullied," said Dr. Henry Sakow.
It's not only a concern of a student's emotional health but also their education because statistically not only does a bullied student do poorly in the classroom, but they're at risk for not even showing up.
"165,000 children stay home from school each and every day, for fear of being bullied at school. So apart from suicide we have this other problem where children are not going to school for fear of being bullied," said Dr. Sakow.
"These young people's grades start to go down. A student who is an 'A' student can quickly drop to a 'B' and when that happens, that's a trigger for you and definitely when that student gets to a 'C' you begin to say what's happening," said Dr. Murfree.
Local officials and educators are taking up Rachel's Challenge, named after the first student killed in the Columbine shootings.