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Student encourages peers to speak out against bullying

School bullying can happen to anyone and nowadays, anywhere.

Whether it’s peer-to-peer bullying, older students picking on younger ones, or even bullying in which a teacher is either a victim or a culprit, bullying hurts.

For fifth-grader Gage Bateman, school wasn’t always easy. Gage has been the victim of bullying more than once.

“He didn’t want to go out. If he wanted to go out, he wanted to go out with just us,” said Jessica Bateman, Gage’s mother. “He didn’t want to play with friends. It was hard. He just wanted to slump on the couch and just read.”

And he isn’t alone. Statistics from the National Center for Education show that nearly one-third of all students ages 12-18 have been bullied at school.

School counselors said there are three roles in any bullying scenario: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. Counselors said oftentimes, teachers can be oblivious to bullying.

“They have to be really careful that they’re not becoming part of the problem and that they don’t laugh when a student is being made fun of and that they have a no-tolerance policy for any type of bullying in their classroom,” said Shauna Polson, Shelley High School counselor.

Things turned around for Gage when his school initiated an anti-bullying pledge. He now serves as a conflict manager and helps fellow students deal with bullies.

“It doesn’t feel good to be bullied, and to help people, that really feels good,” said Gage.

Gage does have a message for students who get picked on: speak up.

“Don’t feel threatened because they just do that to make you not go and tell, but they won’t do it anymore if you tell,” said Gage.

For more information on bullying prevention, visit

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