Several bills in the General Assembly hope to reduce and prevent bullying and youth suicide. More and more tragic stories are coming to light of extreme cases of bullying that have led to criminal trials and youth taking their own lives to escape the torment. Most recently, a youth was arrested for posting threats via social media that he intended to harm the students at his high school.
Research and youth surveys show that bullying is most prevalent among students in grades six through 10.
Legislation introduced in this session will take a critical step to create awareness of youth suicide and bullying, as well as educate those involved with youth on a daily basis.
If we teach adults in schools how to recognize the signs of depression and bullying, we address only one part of the problem. The other component is teaching all youth how to respect and support one another and themselves and how to solve problems constructively. We need to teach youth the value of human life and the acceptance of diversity. Finally, we need to show that we adults support them, and, hopefully, we can minimize some of the more painful parts of growing up.
The Marion County Commission on Youth will host a training session in March in conjunction with the Institute for Behavioral and Family Studies for youth development professionals on how to recognize and prevent signs of bullying and youth suicide.
To learn more, visit www.mccoyouth.org/our-impact.aspx.
Public policy and advocacy coordinator, Marion County Commission on Youth