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Our view: Confront the bully with us

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 5:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 10:55 a.m. CDT

Standing up to the local bully is not easy. It can be especially difficult for children who aren’t the most athletic, the most popular, or the most socially adept among their classmates.

Being subjected to bullying over periods of time can have traumatic effects on our children.

Bullying can hurt children mentally, emotionally, even physically.

The Northwest Herald today begins a four-day investigative report on bullying in McHenry County.

In “Confronting the Bully,” we hope to start a communitywide conversation about bullying and its ramifications, with the ultimate goal of reducing the amount of bullying that occurs in our schools, neighborhoods and online.

To accomplish that, we first have to recognize that bullying is happening and understand the consequences. The sad fact is, bullying is happening in McHenry County, sometimes with deadly consequences.

During the next four days, we will tell some tragic stories, where bullying led local students to kill themselves. We also will tell some hopeful stories about former bullying victims who overcame their traumatic experiences to lead happy, successful lives.

We’ve talked to educators, parents, and national experts in the field of bullying. With the help of the McHenry County Regional Office of Education, we commissioned a survey of county educators on bullying in our schools.

We’ll explore cyberbullying. We’ll offer suggestions for parents, students and educators.

A week from today, we’ll co-sponsor a screening of the documentary film “Finding Kind,” about girl-on-girl bullying and boys’ role in it. The screening will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at McHenry West High School’s gymnasium, and will feature a discussion and question-and-answer session with the filmmakers, Lauren Parsekian and Molly Thompson. The public is encouraged to attend this free event.

Between now and then, we ask that you spend some time with our series.

If you’re parents of school-aged children, we encourage you to talk to them about bullying.

No one wants their child to be a bully, or a victim of a bully.

Help us confront the bully.

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