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Step Up, Stop Bullying, Part One

Maumelle High School students start the "Better Safe Than Sorry" program.

MAUMELLE, AR- Bullying has been around for generations, but thanks to technology, with a single push ofthe button or a click of the mouse, the impact is far more reaching.

Case in point: Did you know that 160-thousand students skip school each day due to peer cruelty.

Another study shows 80-percent of middle school students admit to bullying behavior in just the past 30 days.

Bullying now affects one-in-five children worldwide.

The numbers are sad and the repercussions can be destructive.

Here, now, is the first in a series of reports entitled Step Up, Stop Bullying.

The goal is to show you what is being done at local schools to cut down on a crime that makes no sense.

We begin at Maumelle High School.

In spite of signs that say "No Bullying", it happens.

"I myself have been a victim of cyber bullying," says one student.

"Bullying is a prevalent thing in the schools," says another.

Stronger still, "I've actually experienced people actually committing suicide over bullying," says a third student.

Strong reactions from students across Central Arkansas, all too familiar with the dangers of bullying.

At Maumelle High School, one student is on a mission.

Two years ago, Rebecca Aguilera started the "Better Safe Than Sorry" program.
 
The goal is to teach kids of all ages how to be safe on the internet, and about the dangers of cyber-bullying.

Rebecca Aguilera say,  "People don't realize that what you put on there can really hurt someone."

Using Facebook, Twitter, even My Space, Rebecca spreads the word, teaching kids what is safe to post and what is not.

She hopes victims get help before it is too late.

Rebecca says, "What if one day they just get pushed to the limit and they they're not here the next... and that's what scares me the most. "Her passion along with her program took off, and now she is taking it on the road.

Over the past two years she has visited 16 schools and won numerous awards.

The impact is evident in statements like this one, from an eighth-grader, "I never realized that what I was doing could lead to such extreme consequences."

Rebecca Aguilera says: "Kids need to know that what they're posting and who they're talking to or who they're friends with is crucial and they need to know how to be safe. "

With requests pouring in, she asks other students who share the same passion, preventing cyber-bullying, to join her program.

Sarah Eubanks says, "We jut want people to realize how far their comments on Facebook or their tweets on Twitter can go.

They might not mean to hurt the other persons feelings that bad, but once you say it... you can't take it back."

Rachel Williams, "They don't really understand how hurtful words can be to people and they really don't understand the consequences of posting something rude to someone."

All three have seen the hurtful words, and heard the cries for help.

"We want them to go tell their teacher or their mom, or their dad or their guardian.  We want them to tell an adult so they can get the help that they need," says Sarah Eubanks.

The reality is that fear, along with possible repercussions, prevent some victims from reaching out.

So Rebecca, Sarah, and Rachel march forward, focused and determined to spread their message.

Rachel Williams says, "If one person gets it... that's awesome because that means we might have possibly changed somebody's life or we might have helped them."

Click here to take the Stop the Bullying pledge.

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