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Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side by side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: a Senate committee looks to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

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Animal Shelter Helps Prevent Bullying in MO Schools

August 31, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With Missouri children back in school, it generally won't take long before a child experiences an incident of bullying. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 25 percent of American public school pupils say they're bullied at least once a day.

Jo Dean Hearn is the humane education coordinator with Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter in Kansas City, and she says there is a strong correlation between abuse of animals and bullying their peers in schoolchildren. She uses certified companion animals to decrease bully behavior in school.

"It's extremely important that they see the relationship between the handler - the teacher - and the animal itself, and the compassion the animal and the teacher have for each other and the love between the two."

Hearn says studies show children who display compassion to animals are less likely to be violent toward people. She adds that the program is unique because it also teaches children life skills, such as self-control, responsibility, integrity, and respect.

Along with learning compassion, Hearn says, learning respect is a key component of the program.

"See: bullies want respect, but they get it the wrong way. And so what we do is teach the children how to get it in the right way."

Hearn says because the program is in high demand, she hopes to incorporate volunteers throughout the state to reach more kids. The program is designed for third through fifth graders.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO