Hannibal anti-bullying program seeing success

We hear a lot about bullying in school, and the effects it has on kids today, and the adults they become later.

Hannibal Middle School defines bullying as aggressive behavior that is repeated over time toward another person who has a hard time defending themselves.

The school is doing something to stop it by starting an anti-bullying program.

KHQA's Jarod Wells found out that students, teachers and staff already are noticing a difference.

Kids feel safer walking the halls at Hannibal Middle School.

At the end of every day, they have what's called Pirate Time, named after the school district's mascot. And once a month during that time students and teachers do different activities dealing with bullying; what it is, how it can look and how to handle it.

Hannibal Middle School 6th Grade Josh Arnold said, "I've actually noticed some of the times, since we've started the program that kids, where we have the bullying signs in places where the kids have said there is bullying, that actually bullying has kind of toned down. There's not as many fights, nobody's really getting name-called as much."

Hannibal Middle School Assistant Principal Brooke Kelly said, "One thing we have noticed this year with reports that have been made to the office, we've seen quite a bit of decrease in the bullying incidents like the tripping, hitting, the pushing a lot of that hands on behavior, the name-calling, we've definitely seen a decrease."

Many teachers already were familiar with bullying, but in order to make it stop, they needed better understanding.

Hannibal Middle School 7th Grade Teacher Brianne Fritts said, "So we thought educating teachers about the vocabulary of bullying, the different types, different ways that were bullying, sometimes it's teasing, sometimes it's bullying and knowing the difference between the two I think has been a big help to our teachers."

Kelly said, "Is it gone all together? No, we still have work to do, but we're definitely making a difference."

A difference that is putting students at ease.

Arnold said, "I can just worry about homework and school."

As part of a campaign to raise bullying awareness, students at the middle school were able to come up with anti-bullying propaganda.

Students made signs and banners...some students wrote and performed skits and even a rap song.