FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Child, Youth and School Services staff, children and parents were able to discuss a sensitive subject thanks to skits and hot dogs at the CYSS gym Nov. 19.

Children and Families living on post watched skits and poetry based on bullying events in the lives of the authors - the staff.

"We try to focus on things to help children help each other out and to not be a bully," said Jennifer Sconiers, CYSS lead program assistant. "We also try to keep the parents involved and help them talk to the children about what's happening in their lives."

Sconiers said that CYSS staff can't go to schools to help children with bullying situations, but when they get out of school and spend time in CYSS facilities it's important to talk to them about any possible issues.

"It would be overstepping our bounds to talk to anyone with the schools," she said. "However, we do encourage the parents to talk to school officials about their concerns and spend more time talking to their children about what's happening."

Parents and children sat down and talked about the skits over hot dogs, chips and pie provided by CYSS afterwards. Justin Boyett, 10, said he liked the skits and that he learned a lot from them.

"They did a really good job with the skits," he said. "Sometimes I see other (children) being bullied and it makes me sad. You should never bully somebody."

<b>Signs a child is possibly being bullied:</b>

Sudden decrease in school attendance

Decline in academic performance

Wants to take a different route to school or use different transportation

Uses "victim" body language such as hunching shoulders, hanging head, not looking people in the eye and/or backing off from others

Nightmares and insomnia

Suddenly prefers the company of adults

Frequent illness or fakes illness

Comes home with unexplainable scratches or bruises

Overly concerned about personal safety

<b>Tips to help children who might be bullied:</b>

Monitor the child's behavior and responses to everyday situations

Talk with the child about his or her day

Make the child feel they can talk with parents and other adults

If bullying is at a school, parents should get involved by talking with school principals or counselors

Parents should suggest anti-bullying messages be communicated at schools if they feel it is a persistent issue

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16