Girl's Suicide Teaches School Officials A Lesson


MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW)- Kansas school officials are learning lessons from the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Florida.

Authorities say bullying led her to take her own life last week. Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death off an abandoned concrete plant in Lakeland, Florida.

Authorities say it was the culmination of constant bullying by 15 of her female classmates. Her story drives home the issue of bullying for the nearly 400 educators at the Kansas Safe and Prepared
Schools Conference in Manhattan.

"It's a problem in our society, and since schools are a microcosms of society, what ever happens in society will happen in schools," says Bob Hall, Director of Kansas Center for Safe and Prepared Schools.

Educators and school police officers learned what they should do to tackle bullying behaviors in schools.

"We take bullying very seriously, and we look at it as a team approach, every employee has a understanding of what bullying is. We look at each child as an individual," says School Nurse, Chris Tuck from the Seaman School District.

"Officers are trained to work with that type of behavior and work with school counselors to bring those students in and to counsel them," says Ron Brown, Chief of Police for Topeka Public Schools.

Educators say they hope the lessons learned can prevent another story like Rebecca's.

"That we do everything we can to stop it," says Brown.

Rebecca Sedwick's funeral was held Monday and attendees wore anti-bullying shirts in her honor.

The Safe and Prepared Schools Conference continues Tuesday. Other topics covered included disaster preparedness and preventing violence.


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