Dealing with Bullying

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- Bullying is an issue that happens almost every day in schools and it's a problem that can't be solved, although school districts are trying.

It's something most of us have heard of, seen, or even been a part of—bullying.

In fact when we asked for input on this story on Facebook, we got dozens of comments from parents saying their kids were victims of bullying. Patricia Halbrader is one of those parents. She says two years ago, her son Gavin was punched on the bus near Kennedy Middle School.

"He had to have MRI's because his eyes were all bloodshot and he was bleeding pretty much everywhere on his face,” said Patricia Halbrader.

"He grabbed me by the back and started choking me and then he punched me in the face and on the top of the head,” said Gavin Hartley.

Gavin told us this wasn’t the first time. He says that a few weeks earlier, the same kid punched him.

The bullying incident was caught on the school bus camera. All Dist. 205 buses have them, one in the front and one in the middle of the bus.

If kids are caught bullying, they'll face more consequences this year. Threats, intimidation, and severe bullying are listed under the zero tolerance category in district 205's student handbook.

"Everyone in the district must be trained on how to identify bullying and actually and the process of intervening if bullying exists."

However many parents and victims say schools don't do enough.

"They would make fun of me for the way I dress."

Tim Killeen dropped out of high school in Harvard after being bullied for six years. "Kids told me they wished I would be dead." This made Killeen have thoughts about suicide, but now he's glad he didn't act on it.

"Now that I look back on it there's a lot more in life and there are people who care. That's what I want to make a point to get out to people."

Killeen would like to bring that message to local schools, to speak with kids and let them know they're important and there are people that can help.

Angela Hite-Carter with District 205 says if your child is being bullied, to contact the principal first. However, if you don't feel you're getting the help you need, you should contact the administration office.

Meanwhile, south middle school in Belvidere has bullying tip boxes throughout the school and a bullying hot line where students can call or text anonymously. The number for that hotline is 815-596-0858.

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