SPRINGFIELD, Mo — As gun control legislation takes the national spotlight, local schools are doing their part to battle the underlying condition to school safety: bullying and harassment.
It’s estimated that nearly 75% of school shootings are linked to bullying, but there is hope that the next generation can make a difference.
“Our parents watch their children leave for school wondering if they will come home again. We live in fear, but it doesn’t have to be this way.” exclaimed the passionate Zoe Hancock on Saturday. The Central high school student spoke on Saturday at the Springfield March for Our Lives event.
“Change is coming and it starts now.”
Amid varying viewpoints, one thing is certain: Young people have the power to change the world.
“First and foremost: it’s absolutely is something that must be addressed and talked about,” said Brian Vega.
School counselors like Mr. Vega have been arming students with a different approach in recent months, centered at the root of the problem: bullying and harassment.
“Statistics show that 60% of bullying will stop within 10 seconds if a by-stander uses some tools to address it.”
Anti-Bullying clubs have been gaining popularity according to Vega. Led by school counselors, students are given authority to speak up and to make sure that no one is mistreated.
“As counselors, our goal is to protect every single kid in our school to make sure that they feel welcome and comfortable. That’s what we do,” said Vega.
As a concerned parent sitting at home, just like the students, your best resource when you see bullying or harassment is to contact the school counselor.
Counselors keep records of harassment, bullying, and are equipped with the tools that can start a conversation.