Covering Kentucky

Sep 23, 2012 3:31 PM

E. Ky. Police Start Anti-Bullying Program

EVARTS, Ky. (AP) - A small eastern Kentucky police department is doing its part to stop bullying before it starts.

Officers in the Harlan County town of Evarts have begun visiting schools to talk to children about the dangers of bullying and what to do if they are victims. The Harlan Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/Qly6dK) they began the program last week with a visit to Evarts Elementary School, where they encouraged students to tell an adult if they are bullied.

"If someone is calling you names or pushing you around, you need to tell someone," said Officer William Clogston. "No one should be subjected to that kind of behavior."

Clogston said he enjoys visiting schools, where he makes sure that children know "policemen are their friends." After talking with the students, Teagle and partner John Clogston passed out water bottles with "Policemen are your friends" written on them and gave them wristbands as a reminder to stop bullying.

"Children need to know bullying will not be tolerated anymore," said Clogston. "If a child is suffering abuse from bullying, they need to know there is help if they will just tell someone about the bullying."

Clogston and Teagle said they plan future programs for older children, including ones that deal with cyberbullying and synthetic drugs.

"We just want to try and make a difference and help these children choose the right path instead of a wrong path on down the road," Clogston said. "A lot of kids who bully other kids end up getting into more serious trouble down the road, possibly even jail and prison. If we can talk to them now and maybe say something that will change their outlook, it may save them years of pain and suffering down the road."

Teagle, a former school resource officer, said talking to students is time well-spent.

"It makes a difference when kids can see you in the schools and know that you are their friend- there to help them, not hurt them," Teagle said. "Synthetic drugs, such as fake marijuana, are on the rise and kids need to know these things are very dangerous and even deadly. Bullying has become a dangerous habit also, causing some kids to commit suicide because they were being bullied. It's time to put these things to a stop and that's what officer Clogston and I are trying to do."

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Information from: Harlan Daily Enterprise, http://www.harlandaily.com

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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