84 / 67
      84 / 70
      80 / 66

      Battling Bullying

      December 5, 2011 a fight began inside the bathroom of San Benito's Idea Academy.

      "My son was attacked by six or eight boys and punched numerous times in the face and in the body, said a mom.

      The mom said school officials ignored what she considered bullying.

      The school said her son agreed to the fight.

      They suspended her son and one other boy.

      Whether it was bullying or not, school officials are now focusing on preventing bullying.

      They hosted a bullying prevention presentation Wednesday.

      The school TMs principal Joel Garcia would not say whether the presentation was in response to the alleged bullying.

      He did say any outcry of bullying will get an immediate response.

      "I want to make sure the kids know that they can depend on us as adults, said Garcia. To make sure they turn to us."

      To report bullying Garcia said students fill out of a form.

      "If at any time the kid feels uncomfortable in the classroom, the kid is to submit that report and makes sure that a teacher or counselor or a principal gets a hold of it, said Garcia. We act upon it right away."

      The immediate response is a result of legislation in Texas.

      It requires all schools to have a policy when receiving an outcry of bullying.

      It all starts when a student reports it.

      Guest speaker State Representative Eddie Lucio said reporting bullying is a necessary action as threats against students get more dangerous.

      "Over the last 10 years or so we see guns in schools. We see Columbine. We see Virginia Tech. We see now Brownsville, said Rep. Eddie Lucio (D) District 38.

      We see things that have happened, and that these young kids are not just making hollow threats. They're executing these threats."

      Lucio said education about bullying will help prevent it.

      When asked about punishment for bullies, he said more work is needed to determine what is appropriate.

      "We need to reconcile that, said Lucio.

      We punish someone because they made a bad choice when they were young, and it's going to affect them for the rest of their lives when there was no intent there other than ~I'm 11, and I didn't know better."

      With enough education, Lucio said students will know better.

      He hopes their response will be to report bullying before someone gets hurt.

      The shooting of student Jaime Gonzalez at Cummings Middle School in Brownsville was also discussed at the bullying presentation.

      School staff stressed to students they can trust that school officials are prepared to protect them.