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Bullying in schools leads to mental health problems

Physical, verbal and online, bullying can happen in various different ways these days. Bullying through social media is now the most common way.

“The biggest problem with online bullying is that if the victim of it is also somebody who’s kind of, you know, semi-addicted to their social media, they’re constantly being bullied and so they don’t get a break,” said Brian Smith, a school resource officer with the Idaho Falls Police Department.

Bullying has been shown to have a significant effect on the mental health of those being bullied. According to psychologists, research shows that being bullied increases suicidal thoughts in children and teens.

“Girls are even more likely than boys, if they’re the victim of bullying, to have increased suicidal thoughts and increased likelihood of attempting suicide,” said Dr. Kelly Davis, a clinical psychologist. “So it’s a really serious concern. It’s not just that they feel bad, that they don’t want to go to school, it’s that they want to end their life to try to escape the bullying behavior.”

A new Idaho state code says bullying is an act that harms a student, damages student property or puts a student in fear. When trying to stop the bullying, school resource officers or other administrators can bring the bullies in and try to work things out. If it is serious enough, school resource officers can now issue a ticket to the bullies, similar to getting a speeding ticket.

“It seems to really hit home, you know, if your kid comes home with a, you know, $60-something bullying ticket,” Smith said. “Questions are going to start being asked, and usually the thing gets worked out that’s causing it.”

If you know someone being bullied, try reaching out to a school administrator, counselor or resource officer.

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