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The Twin Falls Police Department’s School Resource Officers will kick off National Bully Prevention Month with Unite Against Bullying Day on Oct. 9 at Robert Stuart Middle School.
This year marks the first year that school resource officers will host the event, which is organized to promote awareness and teach students effective methods to prevent bullying in their schools. School officials and law enforcement officers who work within the schools say that bullying has become significantly more complex than the stereotyped bully on the playground. Social media and technology have made it more difficult for parents to identify.
The Twin Falls Police Department has partnered with the PACER Center to teach students how to prevent bullying. Students and school staff throughout the nation will also be asked to wear orange as a way to show support to end bullying.
“We take bullying very seriously because of the damage it can do to students and their families,” said Officer Steven Gassert, School Resource Officer at Robert Stuart Middle School. “My hope is that we can convince students that it’s everyone’s responsibility to end bullying and to teach them effective ways to prevent it.”
An estimated 160,000 students stay home from school each day to avoid being bullied, according to PACER. Additionally, about 35 percent of students have been bullied online—either through social media or other websites—but only one in four report it to an adult, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
October has been designated as Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, which encourages public awareness and discussion about the devastating effects of bullying.