New program to help prevent bullying in schools launches

Focused on 4th - 8th grade students

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Bullying is no stranger to students from Boca Raton to the Treasure Coast. 7th grade student Robert Meeks was bullied last year.

"He got up and walked over to me and slapped me across the face," says Meeks, who attends Roosevelt Middle School in West Palm Beach.

Other students are too scared to stand up for a friend, but many are affected by it.

"One of my good friends was bullied and he couldn't stand it, so he moved to a different school," says Jupiter Middle School of Technology student Roberto Furfaro.

South Florida schools are now using a new online tool to fight bullying. It's called The Bullying Academy. It teaches students about the dangers of being bullied, and the importance of protective themselves and others.

Creator Tommy Walser says whether you're the bully, the victim, or a bystander, education is the key to prevention.

"If we can just get the message out that telling an adult or educator is the right thing to do, we can stop a lot of problems," says Walser.

Both Robert and Roberto took on the program this summer. Both now share a new perspective.

"If I see my friend getting bullied I'll talk to them about it and go to a teacher I trust," says Furfaro.

A perspective their families are relieved to see.

"It's important to show kids to standup for other kids that can't," says Sonia Mendez, Roberto's Aunt.

About one dozen schools in South Florida are using The Bullying Academy.  A grant is paying for the program so that it's free for schools during the 2011-12 academic year.

Print this article Back to Top