(St. Leon, Ind.) - Local schools are doing what they can to combat bullying since 15-year-old Greensburg High School student Billy Lucas took his own life.
Lucas was tormented by fellow students who believed he was gay. Some went as far as telling him to kill himself. He did so September 13, 2010.
While not every child ends up committing suicide, the bullying topic has gained national traction with school administrators doing what they can to handle the issue and state legislatures passing laws demanding they do.
Recently, students at East Central High School handed a 10 question survey asking about their bullying experiences. Principal Bob Shipley pointed directly to the Lucas’ suicide as motivation to get a grip on the problem.
Results reported by Shipley to the Sunman-Dearborn Community Schools board last week showed 29 percent of students admitted to being bullying victims at some point in their life.
Shipley said he thought the number would be higher.
“We just wanted to get an idea. It really wasn’t as big a problem as I thought it might be,” he said, adding that he still considers bullying worth addressing and that East Central isn’t the only school where it occurs.
Fifty-five percent of students said the school should do more about the issue, but at the same time most students said they would turn to friends if bullying became a problem for them.
Shipley says he and fellow administrators are putting together a grassroots effort to show kids that their peers can provide support.