Schools take on ten week bullying course - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Schools take on ten week bullying course

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- Schools take on ten week bullying course. Sacajawea Elementary School Counselor Nicole White teaches students every day about bullying.

It's part of the curriculum for Richland schools. On Friday she was teaching a 5th grade class. Her lessons are about dealing with bullies on a day to day basis.

The Steps to Respect course used to be taught by teachers, but now it's in the hands of the school counselor who deals with the in-school bullying. Teacher Kathy Bush says "there's so much on our plates. It's always nice to have somebody else to do those kind of things."

Throughout the week White teaches 3rd 4th and 5th graders because that is the age where bullying is most common. The course reaches more than 260 students a year over a ten week period, they're taught that bullying is a serious issue. White says "it's not okay. It's not funny. It's not a joke and it has long lasting, harmful effects on people's self esteem and essentially learning."

Students play out different scenarios using familiar situations the school has seen in the past. Bush says "any time they're using things with their hands and having to discuss with each other, it helps instill it in their brains a little bit better."

Nationwide, bullying keeps more than 166,000 students from coming to school each day. If children start to miss school. White says "it tends to get worse and so we need kids to learn how to be assertive and to stand up for themselves and others."School counselors say they see less physical bullying and more emotional bullying now like name calling and group bullying.