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Government works on anti-bullying tactics

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Bullying continues to be a growing problem for our youth, and for some even affecting the way they act in the classroom. Today the island's three branches of government got together renewing their commitments to standing up against bullying.

"Even though its still going on I know they are trying to help out kids who feel they need to commit suicide or think they don't belong so I think this is really cool," said 8th grader Craig Guerrero. He's an 8th grade student at Bishop Baumgartner, and has already had his run in with bullies. "I have been bullied. In the States, I had a couple friends who pretended to be my friend and then all of a sudden they started teasing me and harassing me."

Craig says he was only eleven years old when he had to brave the halls of his middle school daily. "It was hard but I wanted to focus on my grades so that's what I did," he said.

"I know someone whose been bullied, they would go up to him and tease him and do other stuff to intentionally hurt him," said Alejandra Ada, a 7th grader at Bishop. She says one kid she constantly see's being bullied would get tripped by other students. She says she often see's the tears by those being bullied at her Sinajana school. "During lunch they go by themselves on the cafeteria tables and just sit there and we try to comfort them but they just tell us to leave them alone."

St. John's students Sophia Matthews and Mary Ana Untalan also know a couple victims who were bullied, saying, respectively, "Most of it is verbal where groups will be mean to one certain person and gang up them," and "Also, we have a friend whose cousin committed suicide because her bullying got a point that it just didn't stop."

These students were among dozens gathered at the Guam Legislature today witnessing the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches signing their proclamations recognizing October as Guam Bullying Prevention Month. Chief Justice F. Philip Carbullido said, "Because of the seriousness of the problem, it's important we take a proactive approach as we look at the statistics in terms of the impact and even more so now because of the limited resources our community faces in terms of the services that we must deliver."

First Lady Christine Calvo also stressed why Guam's youth should never fear coming forward and telling on their bully. "If we don't hear it from you first then the bullying cannot be stopped but the message from me as a mother is that for you students, don't be afraid and stand up," she said.

Operating under the duo campaign of Doing Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You, throughout the month of October the Judiciary will be educating students at various schools on the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. Several students will also be selected from secondary schools to serve and safe school ambassadors in an effort to keep their peers from becoming victims to bullies.

Meantime, students are building the awareness of bullying prevention. "It's a crime to the person its being done to," said Matthews. Guerrero added, "Just stay strong and there are people out there who are like you, so just try to find new friends and be strong."

The Legislature will also be playing educational videos and clips on their channel through October.

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