Parents, educators discuss bullying prevention

Published On: Feb 25 2013 11:06:51 PM CST

Parents and teachers came together Monday to tackle a problem that only seems to be getting worse.

Dozens of area educators and childcare providers gathered at CESA 4 to talk about bullying. The focus was not so-much about the problem, but instead how to find a solution.

The group discussed ways to find patterns that lead to bullying and cyberbullying, then start conversations as early as preschool and kindergarten as a first step to put an end to it. "There will always be kids that push the boundaries, and I see that on a regular basis, but intervening and doing it purposefully and protactively, I think that's where our opportunity is," said West Salem Elementary School counselor Gayle Lassen.

"Often times if we wait when it comes to middle school or high school, we're just doing a band-aid effect and we're not attacking the real issues that start so early," said CESA 4 Early Education Director Jen Kalis.

News 8's Jennifer Livingston was a special guest and a part of the conversation.

A health educator says it needs to be bigger than just what the school is doing. Everyone needs to be a involved with the discussion. "It needs to be a collective approach, we need schools, we need parents, we need students, we all need to do what we can as our role to prevent it and focus on creating a culture where bullying is not allowed," said health educator Lacie Ketelhut from CESA 4.

The educators all agreed that kids need to be taught problem-solving skills, empathy, and assertiveness.