Posted: Oct 27, 2012 1:47 PM by Drew Trafton - MTN News
Updated: Oct 27, 2012 12:44 PM
BILLINGS- A recent study conducted in Montana schools finds the epidemic of bullying is on a sharp increase.
The results from the annual Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that 6% of Montana students do not feel safe at school, 23% of state students report having been cyber bullied, 23% say they have had personal property damaged at school, and 32% of Montana students report they have been involved in physical fights.
Those numbers show increases in bullying across the board, with perhaps the most troubling statistic of all being related to physical fights. One Billings middle school is looking to dodge the issue by putting it's students on the front lines.
Now if you don't remember yourself, ask any teacher and they will say that students become very excited as Halloween nears. And when you hold a school assembly the Friday afternoon before when students can wear costumes to school it can get pretty crazy.
But, add an all- school dodge ball tournament into the mix and you're just asking for chaos, and although dodge ball is a very traditional activity at junior high schools, you might be surprised at what Laurel Middle School is connecting it to- anti-bullying.
The cliché sport for bullying has been flipped on its head to help spread a message encouraging students to dodge 'bullying'.
"One of the things we like to do when we're working with kids is to mix something fun with something a little more serious. Sometimes that helps them be a little more willing to listen to our message," Laurel Middle School Principal Andrea Meiers explained.
While some students played, others were pulled out of the gym by counselors to write words they associated with various types of bullying, ranging from physical to cyber. They were then brought back to the gym to act as a physical representation of those bullying statistics in Montana.
"Everyone in the bleachers please stand. Look around, this represents 60% of our student population. 330 persons report being bullied on a regular basis," Meiers told the students.
Different groups of students stood as the assembly progressed, each holding each sign baring words they believed would stop bullying altogether.
Students also donated more than $1,000 they raised during Red Ribbon Week during the assembly, with the money going to help victims of violence and drug abuse who are living at the Yellowstone Women and Children's Shelter.