By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)  — It’s been estimated that up to 80 percent of school kids are, at some time, the victims of bullies. 

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, a conference in Baltimore will try to bring those numbers down.

At some point, nearly all school kids get bullied, whether it’s physical, verbal or emotional.  When she was only 9, Shauna Ratliff was the victim of all three.  She kept her secret for a full year.

“It affected me tremendously, because I have a fear, a fear of meeting new people,” Ratliff said.  “You never know who wants to bully you, who’s going to do something to you.”

Once she told an adult and switched schools, she never had another problem.  But for a while, it affected how she thought of herself.

That’s what scares educators.

“When you think of bullying, it’s like thinking of religion or gender, it’s so widespread,” said conference organizer Dr. Tekemia Dorsey.

So an anti-bullying conference was held Saturday.

“The biggest thing is to seek help.  If you seek help, we’ll stop seeing suicide, depression, stop seeing kids isolate from their friends at school because they’re scared to be around the bullies,” said Dr. Knichole Taylor.

Ratliff’s advice: tell someone.

“I’m like, just tell someone because it’s going to hurt you in the long run,” she said.

“Believe in themselves and stand up for what they know is right,” Dorsey said.

In the coming months, the group which organized Saturday’s conference is bringing their message to other parts of the state.

Comments (11)
  1. The Bully Expert says:

    I agree, telling a “Trusted Adult” is what children should be encouraged to do. However the problem comes when the adults either ignore the situation or even worse, feel helpless because they don’t know what to do. We encourage all adult to become trusted adults. A trusted adult, as defined by some middle school students, is one who (1) listens without judging (2) keeps confidences (3) really tries to help. There are specific things adults should do. If they don’t know what, they should go to the experts. We are experts –

  2. CarriB says:

    I have two children in baltimore county pulic schools and one child in a non public school… in the non pulic school, a school for troubled children and children with mild mental disabilities llike my son the bully police is no tolerance and guess what they ENFORCE no tolerance. In the middle school where my other two children attend I have literaly received phone calls to come get them because a ‘situation’ has risen that is unsafe for them. aka My daughter and son are being bullied and they want me to come get them for their safety. WTH Why should I have to get up in the middle of the day ( I work over nights) and go get my children while these arrogant little monsters stay in school. Public schools are doing nothing, their own handbook states no tolerance.. but it’s a rule and policy getting swept under the rug. How is it that a school for metally disabled and behavior problemed children can enforce police but our local public schools make up excuses and just send our kids home to us? God forbid we disturb the parents with the bully’s and force them to step up and deal with their child!

  3. Justin says:

    I certainly hope you don’t let your kids go out and play when they get home. Guess what… the bullies are still there waiting for them. It happened when I grew up, and you know what happened? Instead of crying about it, kids would figure out a way to deal with it. It’s part of kids being kids. Maybe instead of coddling them, you should teach them to defend themselves. Mommy and/or Daddy won’t be there forever, and let’s face it, this world requires thick skin. I’d hate to see what happens when they become adults, and the hoodlums of the world run amok on them.

  4. Jesse B says:

    This bullying as a hot topic is really getting annoying. I understand parents who want to protedct their childen. but to shield them from all disapointment and defeat in life are setting them up for even bigger problems in the future. We learn by failure not by success. so you gotta get knocked on your butt once in a while. That way next time they get into this situation they stop and say hey lets not do that again or I dont need to be around those types of people. when they get older then what happens? they get taken by smooth talkers or beat up by bullies, why? because they dont go away as you get older! it doesnt matter where you go they are out there ,be prepared and learn self preservation and defense. you should never ever count on someone else to protect you, its nice if they do but you cant count on it.

  5. Angela D says:

    Both of my children (my son is in 6th grade, my daughter is in 2nd grade) attend Curtis Bay Elementary/Middle School and have both been victims of bullying this year. I have had Community Conferencing, attended Anti-Bullying Assemblies, had one-on-one conferences with teachers and the parents and other staff. It has gotten to the point where my children are afraid to come to school (a school they have both been attending since they first started school) everyday because they are afraid of being picked on. My son has gone so far as to, not only leave class because of the bullying, but has left school and come home (with no coat or book bag and without a teacher’s knowledge that he has left the building) because he has been so scared and upset.

  6. Caitlin says:

    It is good to see more awareness of this. One thing I also think we need to work on is teaching children how to mentally and emotionally ‘tolerate’ bullies. I am not saying to let the bullies get away with it.

    However, there will ALWAYS be ‘bullies’ in our lives, no matter how old we are…I know could name a few I have worked with as an adult. We also need to teach children that the reason the bullies act this was is because they are very sad and angry and fearful, due to something in the bully’s personal life. We should also teach children to feel sorry for them and not fear them as much. Children need to know that if they are a target of a bully, it is the bully with the problem, and try not to take it so personally. I feel this would also give children more self-confidence and strength to talk to the appropriate adults.

    I am in no way ‘defending’ the bullies, and totally agree that there should be zero tolerance, however we do need to remind the ‘targets’ a different perception, so that they do not allow themselves to take the ’emotional’ beating and become depressed and sick themselves.

  7. wiccan 1 says:

    You know what type of adults that don’t have problems with bullying? the ones who were bullies themselves. Bullying has gotten worse since I was a child. My son is in a public school and in Kindergarten he was hit on the head with a pointer, and both he and his teacher were cut with scissors, and this boy continued to hurt other children, in 1 st grade we have discovered a child that does the same thing and more. The problem is that the school system’s answer to all of this is to move the child being attacked, up root the target, make him feel like he has done something wrong, not the one doing the attacking, they get to go on as if nothing has happened. I also know that the adminstration likes to push the blame on the teachers, well they haven’t been reporting it to us, and so on.
    They spend all the time passing the blame game, and meanwhile a class full of students and sometimes the teacher are being assulted. Maybe instead of playing the blame game they should get off there duffs and do something. Start by dealign with the child that has been bullying students since pre-K. That is the problem…

  8. CarriB says:

    Dearest Justin.. idk how old you are.. but when we were kids, you got bullied you beat the hell outa someone you got bragging right for a while and all was said and done. My kids do defend themselves. However the problem with that lies in the fact that two kids fight.. per say my oldest son was hit from behind in the head last year by some jerk who had been giving him a hard time, he turned around and broke the kids nose. My kid came home with a lump and the other went to the Er with a broken nose, school pressed assult charges on both boys and my son got probation just like the jerk who came up and sucker punched him from behind. So while I respect what you have to say, I assure I am not a coddler and I do have some rough necks kids, however turning them lose to defend themselves it not as easy as it was for us. It’s not a fight that’s over said and done, it’s not the possibility of a few days suspension. These days someone starts a fight and loses they bring back, cousins, brothers, shoot even parents, not to mention weapons or the threat there of. I am happy to say I don’t have these isssues in my neighborhood, just at school. But this bully problem is nothing like it was when I was in school. It has gone far to a whole new level. And I am 32 years old, not decrepid yet!!!

  9. jblack says:

    Well Either Black people are shooting each other or they are bullying each other….
    Give it a decade or two.. The problem will slowly die off.

    1. XOVER says:

      Wow!! jblack!! I’m glad people contributing to heal societal needs are being proactive about issues affecting and influencing our communities. No wonder people, who thought like you, suffered through slavery, Holocaust, the denied rights to vote, women liberation, and segregation.

      We will work together to help social twists.

Leave a Reply