WAYNE COUNTY — From inside classrooms, to behind computer screens, students in northeastern Pennsylvania say bullying has grown from a problem in school to a 24/7 issue.
“The kids need to realize that does hurt, they need to realize how much it affects the kids,” said high school Student Griffin Gerchman.
Gerchman is senior class president at Dunmore High and says his school has several programs to combat bullying, but that doesn’t stop it entirely.
“Kids that don`t have the courage to bully in school and what I like to call, they put on their Facebook muscles and they`ll pick on someone on Facebook or on Twitter,” said Gerchman.
Jennifer Chmelik from South Canaan says her 13-year old daughter is no stranger to bullying. She says cell phone video shows a fight that broke out at Western Wayne School District in January. She says the bullying has spun out of control.
“It`s non stop, there`s other kids getting bullied, and there`s kids getting hurt, they`re hurting themselves because of the bullying and we need to get the word out there it needs to stop,” said Chmelik.
She says her daughter’s grades have suffered because of bullying, and is concerned for her safety as well as others.
“I know more kids are not coming forward and telling their parents what`s going on in school and they need to. They need to tell somebody, anybody,” said Chmelik.
Senator Bob Casey has joined the fight to help kids like Chmelik’s daughter. He’s introduced an anti-bullying bill and came to Dunmore High School to explain that it would help prohibit and prevent bullying, while requiring schools to keep records of any bullying incidents.
At Western Wayne School District, they say they have many resources to help students who are bullied, but that parents need to step up as well.
“Parents can help us by telling us, that`s number one, we’ve got to know,” said Western Wayne School District Superintendent Clayton LaCoe.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act bill does have bipartisan support, but Senator Casey says that his bill is only part of the bullying solution. Casey says kids and parents on board with anti-bullying efforts is what will really make the difference.