BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Bullying is an issue school counselors have had to deal with for decades now.
“I think people are more aware of it and willing to talk about it now,” said Amy Borowiak, a counselor at Waterfront Elementary school.
She’s been a counselor for 21 years, 18 of which she has spent at that Buffalo Public School. She has worked with children of all ages and says bullying looks different in different grades. The counselor explains that, in early elementary school, it’s usually that kids don’t know how to include everyone; in fourth grade, that’s when they usually see more group bullying begin; and from then on, it moves from out of school to online.
“Everything that goes on out of school eventually comes in anyways.”
The counselor has students in her office each week, they’re working with those on both sides of bullying incidents – victims and the bullies.
“We’re really trying to help kids be citizens of tomorrow.”
The counselor says they need to address issues early because bullying has long term impacts.
“It stays with you and it impacts learning. We have students who don’t want to go into classrooms. There are self-esteem issues. And people carry with them the feelings of inadequacy and not being empowered.”
The counselor says while those feelings exist, with support and resources, overcoming the effects of bullying is possible.
“They can really come out of it and the bullies can change too but it takes everybody – parents, teachers, the community, to work together to make it better.”
Click here for more information about bullying and how to talk about it with your child.