With school about ready to be back in session, par­ents are scrambling to get the last minute school sup­plies. Making sure that their children have their paper and pencils may be at the top of the list, but what about bullying?

Bullying is when some­one repeatedly hurts or threatens another person on purpose, as defined on the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Bully­ing Awareness and Preven­tion Program page.

“Bullying is when a child encounters negative behav­ior from others,” said Sherry Johnson, supervisory lead for the Wonderful World for Kids. “ A child may not have the strength or cour­age to communicate back to an individual to say ‘no’ or ‘leave me alone’.”

The DoDEA is firmly committed to providing all students with a safe and supportive learning envi­ronment. DoDEA officials say bully prevention will continue to be a top priority for them as the school year begins.

What constitutes bullying has changed greatly over the years.

Bullying comes in many forms; name-calling, leav­ing people out, spreading rumors or physically hurt­ing someone, quoted from DoDEA’s BAPP. It can happen in person, in writ­ing, online, and even on cell phones. Your child could be at school, on the bus, home, or anywhere.

It is not a normal rite of passage. It has serious

consequences and it’s not accepted.

The WWK has taken a proactive approach to bully­ing to help prepare students for the upcoming academic year.

“We give classes (on bul­lying) and have mentorship to help them,” said Johnson. “ Our bullying classes have helped (the children) by making them more aware of bullying and how to act if it happens.”

These classes, paired with Johnson’s personal experi­ence with bullying, make for an effective program to combat bullying.

“It used to happen on a week on, week off basis,” said Johnson. “There was a girl who was the leader of the pack. There were so many things I did right, but they weren’t right in her eyes.

“For example, if you wore a dress she didn’t like, she would get the other girls

to pick on you. I wasn’t spoken to, I was neglected, especially when it came to eating. At the cafeteria, I was always separated from everyone else. It was awful,” Johnson continued.

Even with all of the harassing, Johnson still reached out.

“I always went home and talked to my mom and sis­ters,” said Johnson. “Those were the ones who listened to me.”

Johnson uses her experi­ence to help the program.

“I just felt like doing this outreach program,” said Johnson. “ I could relate to the (victims of bullying).”

The classes and the out­reach programs are a sup­plement to the methods that the teachers use to deal with bullying.

“The kids may not un­derstand why (bullying) is wrong,” said Johnson. “We, as teachers, recognize it, see the situation, and then we sit down with the kids as a group to talk about it. This is done so we don’t single anyone out.”

Parents may need help sometimes in dealing with their children after bullying.

“There is a group sit-down we like to do,” said John­son. “It involves the stu­dent, their parents, and the teacher. We try to resolve the problem from there and prevent it from happening again.”

There are resources for students, parents, and teach­ers. In order to use these re­sources, though, someone has to speak up.

For more information, vis­it stopbullying.org, dodea. edu/stopbullying, or speak with your child’s teacher at school.