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12 23Fri09192014

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Speaker Won Pat tackles bullying in schools

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SPEAKER Judith T. Won Pat focused on the issue of bullying in school during her weekly address.

“It is a social issue that continues to taunt parents, teachers and administrators as they deal with it, in some cases on a daily basis,” Won Pat said.

In her weekly address, she also mentioned several instances of bullying that had been in the news, including the recent case of two female high school students who were “detained on suspicion of cyberbullying and assaulting a classmate.”

To further stress the gravity of the issue, Won Pat cited statistics from the Guam Department of Education on bullying cases reported from August 2010 to May 2011, which showed 628 reported incidents in elementary schools, 321 in middle schools, and 113 in high schools.

“Kids constantly face pressure in school and parents can’t be there to protect their children,” she said. “Parents are often not there to protect their children, and their safety is just entrusted to teachers and other custodians of the school,” Won Pat emphasized.

She said most of the focus is on the victim and people tend to forget that the “one doing the bullying needs help too.”

Won Pat also mentioned some of the efforts implemented in addressing bullying in schools such as the islandwide conference organized  by the Judiciary and the implementation of “Play By the Rules,” a nationally recognized anti-bullying curriculum.

She also mentioned management efforts such as the development and implementation of standard operating procedures in reporting incidences of bullying to the police.  

Finally, Won Pat emphasized the need for parents to reach out to their children and for the community to work together and find ways to address bullying.

“Parents, talk to your kids. Encourage them to share their school day with you. If you suspect that your child is being bullied, or is the one doing the bullying, seek help from school counselors, administrators and teachers,” the Speaker advised.

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