Anti-bullying guidelines released in area

William Thompson

The University of Colorado Anti-Bullying Project released information recently for parents and teachers designed to help them recognize bullying behavior in students and Tucumcari educators are taking note.

According to the report, warning signs that a child may be suffering the effects of bullying include poor attendance, loss of appetite and poor sleeping habits. Gary Salazar, principal of Tucumcari High School, said poor attendance always raises a red flag.

“Our teachers have undergone training in learning to recognize bullying,” said Salazar about the response at Tucumcari to the report. “One of the first things our teachers look for is poor attendance. Teachers also take note of students’ complaining of stomach disorders.”

The University of Colorado report said school bullies are usually physically bigger than their classmates, and are generally anti-social. Salazar agreed that bullies tend to be physically bigger.

“We don’t have much of a problem with bullying at the high school level,” said Salazar about his school. “Teachers are aware , however, that physically aggressive behavior is exhibited more often by bigger students.”

According to Roberta Segura, principal of Tucumcari Middle School, sixth and seventh grade students are more likely to experience bullying behavior than most other students.

“I do have a little bit of a bullying problem here at the school,” said Segura. “We see probably about four or five students a month who have been bullied.”

Segura said Tucumcari Schools have specific guidelines in place to deal with bullying,

“The first time a student has been found to be using bullying behavior, we send a written warning home to the parents,” said Segura. “We find that the written warning usually stops the bullying behavior. We rarely have to go to sterner measures like suspensions.”

Some students are reluctant to report being bullied. Salazar said her teachers are adept at spotting victims of bullying.

“Our teachers know what to look for, it’s not that difficult to know who the victims are,” said Salazar. “Still, the student does have to tell us what is really going on.”

The University of Colorado report recommends that, above all, parents maintain close contact with the school, and if they become aware of their child being bullied, they should not hesitate to ask for a conference with the proper school administrator and the bully’s parents.