AISD educates to "bully proof" students


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist CHRIS SHADROCK

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 9 at 6:36 PM

AUSTIN -- Bullying is more than a buzz word. Parents and schools are taking the long-standing problem seriously, including Austin Independent School District.

You might be surprised how young bullying begins. Angela Guerrero, a counselor at Walnut Creek Elementary, says it can start in pre-K and continue in every grade. She had a fourth grader come to her crying Wednesday. The student was being told no one liked him and that he had no friends.

Guerrero made a visual chart to help educate students learn about bullying and how to deal with it.

Following a bullying presentation, two third graders told KVUE how they've learned to handle such situations.

"Be calm and walk away if you are getting bullied," said Carlo Rio.

"I would just ask the person who was getting bullied, 'Are you okay?'" said Princess Ihonvbere.

The students are also taught to tell someone.

"I would go to an adult," Rio said.

"Once a principal or administrator get an allegation of bullying, they separate the individuals involved," said AISD Ombudsman Beverly Reeves. "They contact the parent. They look into the incident and interview witnesses."

She says in any allegation, they contact the police if necessary and complete an investigation. The students also get counseling.

Reeves says she doesn't know if bullying is prevalent, but that they do get a lot of allegations.

She says even if the action doesn't meet the board's definition of bullying, it's usually still a breach of code of conduct, and action is still taken to prevent the situation from continuing.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Go here to learn more.