Bullying at Burley Declining

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

April 14, 2006

Bullying is a problem that effects every school in America, but one Albemarle County school may have a solution. Today, Burley Middle School students were asked to fill out a survey to determine if their fairly new bullying prevention program is working. So far, the surveys show the bully prevention program has been successful.

Burley Middle School Students answered question after question to find out how often they or someone they know are bullied. The two students that spoke with a reporter said they answered truthfully.

"I've been verbally bullied," said Christopher Watkins.

"I know people that do get bullied a lot," said David Jeck.

Psychologist Dr. Dewey Cornell and his staff have been tracking the school's surveys for the past few years. They want to make sure bullying prevention is reinforced while the kids are still young.

"If bullying is not taken care of early, it's a problem that can grow and fester and affect students for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Cornell, a Psychologist and University of Virginia professor.

So far, the prevention program has been successful. Research shows bullying has gone down dramatically. Students said it's something that is often talked about, even on their morning TV announcements.

Teachers are trained to spot and prevent bullying. "I think that's what makes Burley a safer school, is that [bullying] is not allowed to continue, and everybody knows that," said Julia Weed, a Burley Middle School teacher.

Students also like the fact that they have someone to lean on. "You have people to go to when you're hurt," said Jeck.

"I do think that the teachers will definitely listen; they have in my case," said Watkins.

The bullying prevention program is so successful; Albemarle County is in the process of phasing it into all middle and elementary schools.

The latest survey results will be released in about three weeks.

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