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Bullying Alive and Well in ME

December 12, 2011

PORTLAND, Maine - Bullies are a growing problem in Maine and other states across the nation, but shining a spotlight on the problem is one way to stop the behavior.

Experts say Maine needs to educate, motivate and empower young people to actively promote positive social change in their schools and communities. Dr. Elizabeth Englander, director of the Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University, says it's important for the victims of bullies to know they are not alone.

"They're going to realize that they're not the only person who thinks about this or is worried about it. They're not the only ones who have seen it happen or maybe who have been targeted by it."

State officials say Maine has taken important steps to combat bullying. In 2005, Maine enacted a law requiring all schools to implement policies and procedures to address bullying and harassment.

Englander says the problem has gotten worse during the past several years.

"I think that's partly because of the advent of electronic communications and the opportunity that digital attraction sort of gives kids."

She says social-media sites such as Facebook make it easier to bully because there is no face-to-face communication.

More information is online at standup2011.org.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - ME