Local Educators Discuss Bullying Issues

When Preston Morrow, a freshman football player at Enterprise High, stood up and announced that cruel bullying was what left him in this neck brace, many listened.

"Preston, that touched my heart, his story."

The story also raised some serious questions. Like just how much of a problem is bullying in our local schools? Dep. Robbie McClure, a school resource officer at Southeast Lauderdale, says it's something he's seen his fair share of.

"Bullying is an issue," he says. "It probably has always been an issue, and it probably always will be an issue. It's an imbalance of power, and it starts in elementary."

McClure says often the hardest, but most important steps is for the child to come forward to an adult. The school has a zero tolerance policy on that type of behavior. He says the school district investigates and an appropriate punishment is delegated.

But one of the best ways to stop bullying is to nip it in the bud before it ever starts. One of the administrators here at Southeast Lauderdale says his school is taking a more proactive approach.

"For us, the thing that has been the most successful is to try to get the students to understand how the other person feels," Southeast Middle School Principal Marcus Irby says.

Robin Dickerson, who's worked with at-risk youth for over 20 years agrees that efforts should be put into bullying prevention.

"But I believe that it starts back with the families," she says. "We need to put more energy, more economic development into seeing what we can do to keep families together."

But if your child has been bullied, and you feel the school's discipline isn't enough, there are other steps.

"Your child has a right to come into the classroom and learn like any other kid," Dep. McClure says. "And if they are being bullied, that person can be dealt with legally."