Idaho's new anti-bullying initiative

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 05:28:20-04

Idaho's top educator is on a new mission. State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra wants to eliminate bullying.  She's launching a new initiative and 6 On Your Side has the first look at the commercial hitting airwaves this week.

Sherri Ybarra wants to send a strong message, “bullying is not a right of passage to adulthood and adults are the first line of defense,” she said.

Her campaign is also personal. Ybarra was bullied. “I was a victim and i have absolutely no patience for it. I think that’s why I am very emotional and connected to that,” she told 6 On Your Side’s Michelle Edmonds.

The state superintendent praises anti-bullying legislation passed last session. But Ybarra says after meeting with teenagers in Caldwell she realized laws are not enough to curb the problem. “in the words of the kids, it hasn’t gotten down to the student level. Our peers have just found bigger and better ways to belittle each other,” Ybarra said.

What the kids shared is backed up in Idaho youth risk behavior survey. It found 26 percent of all Idaho high schoolers say they have been bullied on school property in the last year. If you break down the stats, teenage girls report higher instances of bullying than boys. 

Not surprisingly, Ybarra's new initiative is all about education. Her hope is to teach students, educators and parents to identify the types and signs of bullying and then give them the tools to stop it.

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