MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (WCCO) — A local school is using a unique approach to prevent and stop bullying. Maplewood Middle School is doing something different — they are asking 30 students to be on bully patrol.
Austin is one of 30 students participating in the anti-bullying program.
“I’ve seen kids being bullied before, and I’ve seen teachers stop it,” he said. “I’ve stopped a fight from happening.”
They’re following an anti-bully program called Olweus. Under the plan, bullying is addressed not only by teachers but students. The whole goal is to empower the bystander or the people seeing the bullying take place.
“It’s a bully’s choice to stop but you can influence them,” said Brooke.
“I think it’s important because a lot of students don’t really want to listen to adults and I think it’s easier to hear it from a kid,” she said.
The students are careful when they confront a bully.
“Like if you say something the bully doesn’t like, accidentally then, you may be a new target,” Brooke said.
But most of the focused is put on the victim.
“How to stand up to people and make them feel like they’re not alone and to make sure they know someone is always there,” Jada said.
Last year the school did a survey on bullying. They found about 20 percent of the student population is bullied frequently, which is about the national average.
“It’s not OK to treat people meanly,” said Cheryl Greene, a anti-bully prevention specialist. “It’s not OK to bully anybody for any reason and everybody, regardless of who they are, deserves respect and deserves to feel safe at school.”
The study also found that some of the bullying took place right under the teacher’s nose.
“It’s shocking,” said Elizabeth Donohue. “To me anyway, especially when a teacher is in the classroom.”
Some of the leaders in the anti-bully campaign say they know exactly what victims are going through.
“I’ve been bullied once in elementary school,” Brooke said. “I think it was because I was wearing something. It made me feel bad.”
Experts say they are seeing more bullying away from school, like on the Internet and via text messages.
Three other schools in the district are also using the anti-bullying program.