In the past year every school in the Sioux Falls School District has put more of a focus on bullying through the Olweus Bullying Program. Administrators say the program is already showing results.
Although the official results of this first year on the Olweus program won't be available until April, school officials are starting to see some improvements.
"What we find now is the kids are much more willing and easily come and say 'Hey this has happened and this is bullying.' So they can identify what bullying is," Student Support Services Coordinator Celeste Uthe-Burow said.
A key part of the program is showing students how to deal with bullying through role playing. They believe by experiencing the situations themselves, kids can better handle bullying in real life.
"What we know from research is that kids, when you teach them, they see it and participate in doing something it stays in their memory that much longer," Uthe-Burow said.
Another large aspect of the Olweus program is identifying "hot spots" for bullying and then placing school employees in those areas.
"We identified those areas where bullying is more likely to take place. And nine times out of ten, it was where there was no one that was around that was an adult," Uthe-Burow said.
They also stress it doesn't matter who a child tells about the bullying, as long as an adult is aware of the problem.
"It doesn't necessarily have to be their classroom teacher. It could be a janitor that's working in the school, it could be the nurse, it could be an education assistant. Anyone they can tell," Uthe-Burow said.
Once the district receives the official results of the program this spring, administrators will then decide what parts of the program are working and what parts may need to be changed.