As kids settle back in for a new school year, more parents worry about bullying, especially since according to the National Education Association 6 out of 10 kids are bullied in school. That's why one local mom is fighting back for her son.
"My heart breaks every time. I just don't want to be bullied in school anymore."
9 year old Kyle Oddo was bullied for nearly year by a classmate at Whitehead Elementary in Rockford.
"He slapped me, he punched me in the stomach, right here and it really hurt a lot," said Kyle.
He says he wants more parents to be aware of what their kids go through, in and outside of the classroom. That's why Kyle's mom Jeanne pushed for an anti-bullying program in all Rockford public schools. She's says it's not only to protect her son, but to save other bullying victims.
"We have to make the step, this why kids everyday are committing suicide, or going to school with a gun to defend themselves and that's not the way we want the schools to be," said Oddo.
It's that type of behavior local groups are trying to prevent. so elite defense systems teamed up with RPS to teach self defense to students at each school during gym class.
But instructor Matt Numrich says the idea is not to promote unnecessary confrontation.
"The rush is always to teach about physical kinds of tools but you know what you need to do is balance it out and make sure you give them non physical tools or non violent tools to deal with bullies," said Numrich.
And it's those tools Kyle says he's ready to learn to no longer be a victim.
RPShas also been implementing a bullying prevention program for the last three years. Elite Defense Systems is offering a free self defense class for kids this week. You can call (815) 885-4758 to sign up.