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Study: Sticks And Stones and Words Can Really Hurt

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January 29, 2009

Harrisburg, PA – Name-calling and bullying are about to be thrown off the playground. This is national No Name-Calling Week, drawing attention to bullying and tolerance in our schools. The program is aimed at focusing attention on the problem in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Program spokesman Daryl Presgraves says the old "sticks and stones" adage just doesn't apply anymore.

"We think it's important that schools focus on finding ways that can ensure students tolerate and respect each other. It's really important students feel safe in school in order for them to get a proper education."

In many cases, Presgraves says, it's the student who is perceived as being different who is the target of abuse.

"This is something that is pretty much universal. Every student is affected by this, but certainly students who others view as different are most-often targeted."

The impact that a bully has on a fellow student can have far-reaching consequences that could impact someone far beyond his or her school years, according to Presgraves.

"It isolates us, it puts us in a corner and it makes it difficult for us to learn and it makes it difficult for us to achieve as well as we can in school."

A study by Harris Interactive found that nearly half of the middle school students surveyed believe name-calling and bullying are serious problems in their schools. No Name-Calling Week is being promoted by the National Education Association and the National Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, along with 50 other organizations.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - PA