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Perrysburg schools invite expert to help curb bullying

(WTVG)
Published: Sep. 15, 2016 at 10:24 PM EDT
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Nearly every kids has felt what it's like to be bullied in schools.

Kylie Griner, 8, told 13abc, "I've been bullied once...it made me feel very terrible."

In Perrysburg, the district wanted to do a little extra to fight back, against what can be a difficult issue.

"So often, as adults, we don't know how to respond or we haven't responded appropriately," Brent Swartzmiller, principal and Perrysburg Junior High said. "She [Jodee Blanco] made you reflect on what you do and how you work with students."

Swartzmiller is talking about Jodee Blanco. Thursday, the New York Times best selling author was in Perrysburg as part of a week long visit.

Her specialty is bullying and how to stop it.

"Kids have to know that it's not just joking around," she said. Most of them aren't cruel on purpose, they just don't realize the impact of their actions."

Having been bullied all through school, Blanco now travels the world, speaking to school districts about what to do. She says the secret is compassion for the bully.

"Bullying is not an act of hatred, it's a cry for help," Blanco said. " We save the bully and we save the victims and that's the core of my message."

It certainly resonated with the students. Many grades already heard Blanco speak during the week and they still came back, this time with their parents, to hear her message again.

"The main thing I would say to people in junior high around the country is to pick friends who won't push you to do things you won't want to do," Katryna Griner, 12, said.

For parents, Blanco's program is an invaluable resource that will only help their kids.

"It's nice to have them understand that's not how we act towards other people," Ann Griner said.

Perrysburg does have an anti-bullying program already in place, as do other districts in northwest Ohio.