#childsafety | KTAR, Arizona Sports to broadcast Bully Free AZ program on Tuesday

PHOENIX — KTAR News 92.3, 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and Earnhardt Auto Centers have teamed up for the third consecutive year to help fight bullying in Arizona schools with the “Bully Free AZ” campaign and simulcast on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Bullying has been and continues to be a problem not only in schools in Arizona but across the country.

The Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 report found that just over 20% of children in the United States reported being bullied at school in 2017, and around 25% of kids in 6th, 7th and 8th grades reported being picked on since 2005.

Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ and Caress Russell of the Be Kind People Project will join hosts Jayme West of Arizona’s Morning News and Vince Marotta of Bickley and Marotta during the one-hour program with tips on how parents, adults and other kids can identify and help solve the issue of bullying in Arizona.

The issue facing those who want to help is that only 20% to 30% of children disclose they are being bullied, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ muststopbullying.org.

Christ said this could be due to children being afraid the bully may retaliate, don’t trust that the parents will believe them or that the child will be perceived as weak.

She encourages open communication between the child and their parent, adding it would be helpful to start that conversation early before bullying may occur.

Kids can help by just being there for the bullied child or telling a trusted adult.

“Doing simple things like being nearby, or eating lunch with an individual or sitting on the bus next to them can make a world of difference and can actually stop the bullying for that individual,” Christ said.

New stressors and regulations of going back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic and how it relates to bullying will also be discussed in the simulcast, along with the warning signs of possible cyberbullying.

“It’s a whole new environment, they’re wearing masks, they’re feeling a little bit more uncomfortable, they don’t get to do their normal routines and that could set up kids to potentially be in a bullying situation,” Christ said. “Whether they are the ones being bullied or they feel the need to bully others to have some kind of power, some kind of control in their life.”

Russell, meanwhile, suggests parents encourage a child who is or has been bullied to think what in the bully’s life may cause them to be acting out with bullying.

“That may, in turn, help you cope with the cope with the anger you may feel toward that person as a result of being a victim of their bullying,” she said.

Along with the simulcast, parents can find out more about how to help solve the issue of bullying by visiting BullyFreeAZ.com or by texting “Bully Free” to 620-620.

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