CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1583 saying students should feel safe at school and every teacher should have the resources and training needed to keep them safe. The bill will require each school district to have a policy in place for youth suicide awareness and prevention by 2018. It also includes cyber bullying in the state statutes for school’s anti-bullying policies.
High School Student Emma Brockman says she thinks bullying is a problem. A problem that she estimates affects more than 70 percent of her peers.
“Mostly cyber-bullying. I don’t really feel like it’s physical bullying anymore just kind of verbal and cyber bullying,” said Brockman.
She recalls it starting at a young age but says it’s become progressively worse with social media.
“That just opens the door for kids to say things that they might not say to someone’s face and super hurtful things you know you hear about kids committing suicide because of these things,” Brockman said.
“We many times see those types of problems with children who have been involved in trauma,” said Susan Henderson, Burrell Behavioral Health Psychologist.
Henderson says bullying can be traumatic for children of all ages causing them to act out in different ways.
“If a teacher is seeing this acting out behavior then looking at it a little bit in a wider lense than oh this child is just acting out,” Henderson said.
Brockman says she thinks it would help if teachers were trained in youth suicide awareness and prevention.
“I think that teachers, you know, see more than they really step in so I think it would be nice for teachers to step in more,” Brockman said.
“We can’t always protect our children from everything life puts in front of us. What we can do is help build those resiliency skills by helping a child be in a loving environment,” Henderson said.
Henderson says she suggests talking with a child’s pediatrician if behavioral changes occur such as acting out or withdrawing from activities they enjoy.