Tolerance Week sheds light on bullying in schools - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Tolerance Week sheds light on bullying in schools

Panel discussion at the Sioux City Art Center after a showing of the "Bully" documentary. Panel discussion at the Sioux City Art Center after a showing of the "Bully" documentary.

Many of us can say we've been the victim of bullying, or the bystander who did nothing, maybe even at times, the bully.

The problem has been called an epidemic in our country, with local, state, and federal leaders looking at ways to prevent it.

The documentary "Bully" was shown at the Sioux City Art Center.

Part of it was shot in the Sioux City Community Schools, and highlights the story of Alex Libby, a student who was bullied at school and on the bus.

Since the movie, the district has taken steps to prevent the problem, like extra cameras and personnel on busses, as well as educational programs for students and staff.

But to truly make a difference, Superintendent Paul Gausman says needs a community effort.

"Bullying is everywhere and it's going to take all of us to make a difference in that area. I don't think it's a school based problem as the only area for solutions. And so we need to make a difference in schools and we own our responsibility," said Paul Gausman, Sioux City Community Schools Superintendent.

Gausman's seen the movie 27 times and says it doesn't get any easier to see the district's flaws exposed.

But he does say what happened here, and what's happening in other schools across the country has become part of a national conversation.

A panel discussion after the movie brought to light things that have improved.

"Students are not afraid to go to a parent and have a conversation, or administrator, or to a student council member or a peer. They're no longer internalizing everything, they feel the freedom and ownership to at least have a conversation with someone next to them," said Jim Vanderloo, Sioux City Schools Secondary Education Director.

"How do I create that change? And it is exactly that, hold yourself accountable, be the role model yourself," said Sally Kolbe, Bully Prevention Community Coalition Chair.

Thursday night's event was one of several held as part of Tolerance Week.

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