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Forums Draw Attention To Bullying

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LANSING (WWJ) – Federal law enforcement and civil rights officials say it’s time to stop the bullying.  They’re putting together forums Thursday in Ann Arbor and Dearborn focusing on harassment in schools.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says bullying is much bigger than just harmless teasing.

“Teasing and name-calling is one thing and probably a very normal part of childhood, but when it escalates to something beyond that, we have seen bullying lead to youth violence. The kids who attacked Columbine High School were bullied. So when bullying gets out of proportion, it’s something that becomes a serious concern,” McQuade said.

With computers, cellphones, texting and Facebook, experts are just as concerned about cyber-bullying, which tends to peak around the end of middle school and the beginning of high school.

“Cyber bullying is a new tool that’s out there, it’s a new frontier. Kids use it, I think, sometimes naively, but sometimes they use it in very intimidating ways,” McQuade said.

She’s calling together people from the civil rights office, department of education, and others to join community forum on bullying. McQuade believes if everyone gets involved, the bullying can stop.

“If the bystanders say ‘that’s not acceptable,’ the research shows that’s when the bullying can stop.  So, everybody has a responsibility, even those who are not the victim of bullying,” McQuade said.

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