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Efforts to combat bullying may do more harm than good

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A recent study suggests efforts by schools to combat bullying may do more harm than good.

The study released from The University of Texas at Arlington finds students attending schools with anti-bullying initiatives are more likely to become a victim of bullying than children at schools without the programs.

Dr. Deirdre Adduci with PsyCare in Austintown is not surprised by the results, saying one reason may be the programs give children new ideas on how to bully.

"When kids are picking up ideas they're obviously not learning what they need to at home with their support system," said Dr. Adduci. "Those programs can only be an adjunct."

Like many schools across the country, classrooms in the Valley are doing their best to keep students from the repeated harassment.

Staff at Canfield Middle School see themselves as a second shift of parents.

This year, they're taking what they believe is a proactive approach to stop bullying by encouraging witnesses to call an anonymous hotline.

"They may not be the bullies. They may not be the victims, but they are the majority of kids who may be able to help us by doing the right thing, by helping the other children, by letting us know what we can do here at school to make it a better place for them," said Guidance Counselor Patrice Loree.

Dr. Adduci warns children who deal with harassment, whether they're the victim or the bully, face a lifetime of low self esteem.

She says children need to learn boundaries, which is a lesson that starts at home.

"If children aren't learning those things primarily from their parents, grandparents, you know their support system, then teaching these things, it may be helpful but it certainly may not be enough," said Dr. Adduci

For more information on the study, click here.

 

 

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