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Wisconsin ranked one of the worst states for bullying, local schools work to change the numbers

Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 20:47:23-04

Wisconsin has one of the biggest bullying problems in the country.  A new WalletHub study said it's the seventh worst state for bullying issues.  

However, many schools in southeast Wisconsin are working to prevent bullying.  

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, but being kind is part of the curriculum every day at Greendale Middle School. Seventh-grader Nikolina Gallo appreciates her school's efforts.  

"I think it is a problem and we should do something about it because like it just hurts people's self-esteem," said Nikolina Gallo, Greendale Middle School.

Greendale students took part in 'Mix It Up At Lunch Day' Tuesday by eating with kids they typically don't sit with.

"I got to meet a lot more new people and learn a lot new things about them," said Tess Zaja.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found almost 20 percent of high school students they surveyed were bullied at school and 15 percent were bullied online.  

Greendale Principal John Weiss hopes to get those numbers down.  

"We're certainly not perfect and we're certainly not going to eliminate all those issues that come with bullying and just really how people treat each other, but I believe we've taken a lot of steps in recognizing that we want students to be respectful and treat each other kindly," he said.

'Mix it Up At Lunch' is just one way the school is encouraging students to be nice.

"We get students to talk about the impact that their language and their behavior has on each other," said Weiss.

At least for Greendale Middle School, their efforts appear to be working. 

"I think it really helps with spreading kindness around the school," said Zaja.

Greendale isn't the only district working to stop bullying.  For example, Milwaukee Public Schools has a Violence Prevention Program in place and Racine Unified trains students and staff to identify bullying behavior.