SD2 Bullying Prevention Initiative - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

SD2 Bullying Prevention Initiative

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BILLINGS -

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying is a nationwide problem, and last year, Billings high schools faced a cyber bullying incident.

School District Two educators created a new, more comprehensive policy to deal with it. The new program is called "Stand With Us Against Bullying." Billings Public Schools leaders are training all staff on what is and isn't bullying and what to do if it's reported. Bullying can be a single, severe incident or persistent and pervasive.

"Bullying behavior is often a learned behavior," said Kathy Olson, school leadership support executive director. "Often, not always but often students and children who bully have been bullied themselves. They know how to do it."

SD2 has an online form for students and parents to report incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

"Sometimes it's kind of brushed under the carpet and not talked about and I think that's part of the issue is we need to talk about it and understand it and work with parents, students, and staff on it," said Terry Bouck, SD2 superintendent.

The new forms that help track bullying incidents can identify appropriate consequences.

"We also need to make sure this type of behavior doesn't impede any student from getting their education and that's obviously very important that we have students who maximize their talents and they can't always do that unless they feel safe, secure," Bouck said.

In addition, elementary school counselors teach students about bullying and how to prevent it. High school counselors also work directly with students.

Educators hope to build trust by following through with reports in a fair way so students will feel more comfortable reporting bullying incidents. The new policy is currently under review.