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Idaho Teachers Learn Ways To Prevent School Bullying

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Adam Cotterell
Boise State Public Radio

In Washington D.C. Tuesday a national summit on preventing bullying in schools rapped up. It’s the third year the U.S. Department of Education has hosted the summit on what is a growing concern among educators and parents. In Boise Tuesday Idaho teachers came together to learn ways to prevent bullying.

Char McKinney knows about school bullying. She teaches high school English in Kooskia. She thinks bullying has increased in her school in recent years. She recalls a girl who moved to her school as cute and smart.  A group of boys zeroed in on the girl and wouldn’t leave her alone.

“She didn’t want that. I mean they were trying to corner her every day. Why won’t you go out with me? Why won’t you let... you know," she says.  "And they were pressuring her to the point where her parents took her out of school.”

McKinney says in the corporate world harassment like that wouldn’t be tolerated. She’s one of the more than 60 teachers at this week's anti - bullying workshop hosted by the Idaho Education Association. 

Phil Johnson is helping with this training. The retired teacher from New York does anti bullying training for the National Education Association. Johnson says a school's commitment to stop bullying is more important than the techniques used.  

“Everyone must be trained, not just teachers, not just administrators, but bus drivers, cafeteria workers." He continues, "the second step is that everybody has to be aware of the program.  So that the students all are aware that if you do something, there will be a immediate action. And then the third step is, there has to be clear and consistent rules for bullying behavior.”

Johnson adds it’s also important for states to have good laws on bullying. Earlier this year Idaho Senators shelved a bill to more clearly define bullying and make enforcement stricter. Another bill on cyber bullying failed. The Idaho Education Association anti bullying training raps up Wednesday

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