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Md. First Lady Leading Bullying Awareness Week

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Katie O'Malley, O'malley, omalley
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland students get a refresher course this week in anti-bullying strategies.

Pat Warren reports it’s the second year of a public school initiative to stop bullying of all kinds in the state.

Da’Qwan Jamison remembers being beaten.

“The bully had told me, ‘Man, what’s up with that mouth? One for me, one for my boy and the rest of these for fun,’” he said.

The bully knocked out his teeth. Jamison was one of more than 3,300 cases of bullying reported in ’09-’10 school year.

Some of these Lakeland Elementary and Middle School students have suffered through bullying, as well.

“They pick on me, like how I look and stuff,” said one student.

“Yes, I’ve been bullied many different ways. Verbally and physically,” said another.

Schools superintendent Nancy Grasmick chose Lakeland to highlight efforts to stop bullying on all levels, and First Lady Katie O’Malley has made it a priority of her own. They want to make sure the kids are catching on.

“You tell a parent or a teacher or an adult that’s close to you. You tell a parent or an adult, that’s exactly right, and they’ll come and talk to the principal or the teachers about what they’re doing to you. Exactly then they will help you,” Grasmick told students.

There is all kinds of bullying. Bullying-induced suicides may make verbal abuse or social isolation seem small by comparison, but as a parent the First Lady knows all bullying is harmful.

“Well, you know having your kids grow up in a family where their dad’s a political figure, they often times have been targeted because of positions he may take, and unfairly, so you know they’ve had to deal with it. I’ve had to help them deal with it and kind of grow through that but I think it needs to stop in all the schools,” said O’Malley.

It’s never too soon to stop. Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week focuses on the victims, the bullies and the bystanders. Lakeland is home to one of the state’s top anti-bullying programs.

The governor and lieutenant governor are also participating in bullying awareness and prevention events this week.

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