Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'School violence is getting out of hand'

So says 16-year-old Kalynn Antwine, a student at Webster High School in Tulsa:

I am ashamed of how our teachers, students and even parents do not take school violence seriously. ... Verbal abuse is worse than physical abuse because most likely if someone sees you being hurt they will help. If someone is putting you down, most people will just watch. I find it sad that this happens often. In Michigan, a 15-year-old girl committed suicide because her so-called friends started calling her names and being mean to her.

And it's not just Michigan. Jordon Shinn reported in The Daily O'Collegian on November 10, 2010, that "bullying was a hot topic at the Stillwater Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, as the father of a recent suicide victim gave his testimony to a room packed with quietly concerned parents."

Early in the meeting, Patricia Hughes, assistant professor for the School of Applied Health and Educational Psychology at OSU, gave a presentation on bullying in Oklahoma schools.

"It's leading to suicide more and more often, more and more young," said Hughes. "We're seeing an escalation in the incidents, in the violence. Here, we're seeing suicides happening very, very, very close to us."

Hughes participated in the Oklahoma Anti-Bullying Survey of 2005. The largest study of its kind done in the United States, it surveyed more than 10,000 third-, fifth- and seventh-graders from 85 school districts in Oklahoma, according to www.ok.gov/health.

"What we found out is that one out of five kids in Oklahoma schools is worried about bullying," Hughes said. The survey questioned students about three areas of bullying: physical, social, and sexual.

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