Virginia Defines Bullying, Empowering Schools - - ABC13

Virginia Defines Bullying, Empowering Schools


Amherst, VA - Students who are bullied are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to commit suicide. Unfortunately, the consequences are easier to define than the term itself.

The Virginia legislature passed a bill last session, defining bullying as "aggressive and unwanted behavior that's intended to harm or humiliate the victim."

Bullying is already banned in Virginia Schools, but politicians hope defining it will encourage consistent policies statewide.

"The state wants us to focus more on preventive programs," says Mary Mays, Supervisor of School Counseling for Amherst County Public Schools.

This year, Amherst County High School started a Friends of Rachel Club, a national anti-bullying group in memory of Columbine's first victim, Rachel Scott.

One of the club's four advisors spent 22 years as a police officer in Florida and has seen the consequences first-hand.

"We shouldn't wait until things are really bad at our school. We have a good place. We want to make it better," explains Angie Wilder.

Daniel Dean, a junior at Amherst County High School is among two dozen students taking part in the Friends of Rachel Club. They meet every Tuesday as a support system for each other and a vehicle for change.

"I would advise other kids to speak. They have a voice to speak. And speak clearly," said Dean.

"Sometimes if you're able to help someone else, it might heal the scars that you have," added Wilder.

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