Bullying is perhaps the biggest safety problem for kids at school. With October designated as National Bullying Prevention Month, one school is taking it further by working year-round to stop the unwanted harassment.
Students at Drachman Primary Magnet School believe one of the keys to reducing bullying is by sharing words of kindness. Children class take the time to write down a few positive words about their peers. The kind notes are then posted on a wall for all to see.
Fifth-graders Sarah Haro and Jackson Banhie have witnessed bullying on the playground, after school hours and during class.
Haro said, “In the classroom, I'll tell like people to stop, and please stop and please stop being mean to other people, stop yelling. I think everybody should do that. It's really kind."
Banhie noted, "When it comes to bullying, you could try to stand up for them but not get in the way of it as much and then try to tell a teacher."
TUSD officials say they have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying.
Tammy Hille, coordinator of the Guidance and Counseling Department at Tucson Unified School District, said bullying has long-lasting effects, such as leading to depression and even self-harm.
Hille noted the prevalence of social media serving as a tool for harassment outside the classroom.
One of the major concerns expressed by parents is whether there is enough being done by TUSD to quickly address and resolve individual cases of bullying. Hille said communication is vital.
“I know parents sometimes feel that enough is not being done but I think if we get everybody together and work as a team, I think that the parents will see that the schools are actually having a lot of things being put in place.
"There's classroom lessons regarding bullying, there's activities and it's teaching the kids when there is conflict and they're not getting along with someone how to talk with them in a very respectful way."