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Eye on Kids: Bullying prevention

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Imagine watching your child coming home from school, upset every day because they're being bullied.

February is National Bullying PreventionMonth, and instead of having anti-bullying programs, schools are trying to get to the root of the issue to encourage kids to do the right thing.

Lexi Hansen wants to be an artist when she grows up and the glasses she wears helps her draw.But her bully says she looks weird and calls her "Googley eyes."

""She came home one day and was crying and I'm like what's wrong? And she said well he pushed me down the stairs on the bus," said Lexi's mother, Sierra Winters.

So what's being done to keep kids like Lexi from being bullied?

Indiana schools have statewide initiatives like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or IPBS.It pushes for positive character development with rewards.

"If we really believe that we have a true, fully defined by the books bully,we try to give them counseling," said Tiana Batiste-Waddell, Principal at Marshall Intermediate School. "We hook them up with the social worker, and the social worker or the counselor will reach out to family and give them referrals to outside agencies. Butit's important, it's very important, to remember that it's not just about the victim. It's also about the person bullyingbecause they're hurting, too."

Marshall Primary student Jayshawn Caldwell used to be a bully.

"Well I had started bullying when I was like 9-years-old and I stopped. Now I just protect people," he said.

South Bend schools are taking prevention to the next level by training people in character education and citizenship.

"There's lots of barriers, but again, research shows social and emotional learning is important," said Batiste-Waddell. "So we try to capitalize on teaching kids how to be good citizens. What it means to care about another human being to always re-teach, r-eteach, because we know that we're battling against different forces. We really are."

To help vibrant kids like Lexi, and stop bullying.

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