Beating Bullying

Dothan, AL - You’re so ugly. No wonder no one likes you. Why don’t you just go away?

Messages like these are causing many teens to dread walking the school halls.

“We have bullying issues at Dothan High on a daily basis. Most of the time they happen away from school but they bring it to school, and we deal with it as quickly as we can,” said Dothan High School Principal Stan Eldridge.

It’s not just Dothan, this is happening all over. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, nearly one-third of children will be bullied each year.

Eldridge dealt with nearly a handful of bullying cases Wednesday. He said it’s important to keep an open line of communication with parents.

“We take bullying very seriously. We don’t take them lightly. We want parents to know, if we don’t know about it we can’t help.“

Every case is discussed and reported to a school resource officer, but there are times when a parent should turn to law enforcement.

“We prefer the school officials take care of any bullying issues unless there’s any physical contact that’s been made or threats of violence have been made,” said Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes. “If parents feel they aren’t getting the attention they need I the bullying has gone a little bit further and may be criminal in nature, harassment or threatening in violence, then you need to report that to law enforcement.”

Hughes encourages people to keep records of the bullying. Print off a harassing Facebook post or text message.

Also, Eldridge said it’s critical that parents stay involved in their child’s life.

“Things that we find through social media will shock a lot of parents. If they’re keeping touch with what’s going on with their child at their house will help them be abreast with what’s happening at school,” he said.

If you suspect your child could be a bully, try and stop it now. Hughes said many criminals started out as just a bully in school.

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