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If You've Been Bullied, Don't Be Afraid To Seek Help

Police say a boy brought a gun to a Monroe school this week - possibly to protect himself from a bully. School officials are urging students to seek help in the right ways if they're dealing with a bully.
OUACHITA PARISH -- Police say a boy brought a gun to a Monroe school this week - possibly to protect himself from a bully.

School officials are urging students to seek help in the right ways if they're dealing with a bully.

    Ouachita Parish school psychologist Flint Smith says students should not be afraid to turn to counselors, principals and especially teachers for help.

"They've got to have the courage to tell someone...on the other side of that, the adults have to listen," said Smith.

    This year, a state law went into effect requiring teachers to be trained on bullying.

    The law also requires every instance of bullying to be tracked, the first time many districts have been required to do so. Smith said bullying is really a form of harassment, and even cyber bullies can go to jail if a situation escalates. 

"Most bullying, adults don't see," said Smith. "And that's what makes it so dangerous. If a child comes to you a second time, and tells you someone's bothering them, it's time to start an investigation."

    For those who they may be a bullying victim, Smith suggests they save every text, email and message, and to even reach out to witnesses. Parents and adults in the school place are urged to listen and be proactive when a student comes to them about a bully.

"You may be the last person they'll get to tell," Smith said.

Programs like Rachel's Challenge have been implemented in 17 schools throughout Ouachita Parish -- Smith said interactive programs like this help students understand the seriousness of bullying. The program was started by the family of Rachel Joy Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings. The challenge inspires children to start a chain reaction of kindness throughout the school.

READ MORE -- Special Report: Combating Bullying Part 1

Special Report: Combating Bullying Part 2

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