A couple of weeks ago, we posted a story on our website, about bullying in a Cumberland County school. The story generated a lot of viewer comments and lead to a heated discussion about an alleged bullying incident at Codington Elementary School in Wilmington. The discussion was so heated we decided to pull some of the comments off of the internet, but we are not ignoring the issue, instead we are reporting on it. Some students at Codington Elementary School have the right idea when it comes to bullying. "At school it shouldn't be a problem because kids shouldn't be treated that way. The teacher should be able to handle it," said 4th grader, Caroline Lemley. Bryston Davis, also a 4th grader said, "I'm trying to stop that, if I see somebody I'll go tell them to quit it." We have all heard the saying “kids will be kids”, but when does the typical childhood teasing cross the line into bullying? New Hanover County behavioral specialist, Hanna Griesbauer said the line gets crossed when a student is a constant target for negative behavior. "The imbalance occurs when you have one student, or a group of students, continually target another student without retaliation." Some consider bullying a right of passage for children, but Griesbauer said bullying is a much deeper issue of power, impacting every age group. Each year, New Hanover County schools report fewer than one hundred bullying incidents. On the high school level, most bullying cases involve social ridicule, like the popular kids versus the not so popular. On the middle and elementary school level, bullying cases involve the bigger kid, picking on the smaller kid. That is when school officials take action. Codington principal, Budd Dingwall said, "If there is a bullying type incident that is starting up, we investigate, we intervene, we prevent and we reeducate." To help, New Hanover County schools have been implementing bullying prevention programs in the classroom; educating students on reporting bullying when it happens and how to solve a dispute, before it goes too far. At the elementary school level, teachers and students talk about bullying at least once a week. Once the kids get older, bullying education takes place on an as-needed basis. If you feel there is a bullying problem at your school, students and parents can fill out an incident report form on their school's website.
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