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Ascension Public Schools bring in experts to prevent school bullying

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PRAIRIEVILLE - A topic discussed on the national level has hit Ascension Public Schools. Melania Trump spoke out against cyberbullying Monday. At Prairieville Middle School, it’s the same conversation.

“Tell us what a bully is, tell us what bullying is,” said Harold Reaves, the Global Director for Safe Schools Absolute.

Reaves traveled to Louisiana to discuss ways to prevent bullying. On Monday night his audience wasn't students, but their parents.

“They need to be involved, to look at their students' devices and see what they're doing,” said Reaves. "So many times parents are intimidated by social media and how to maneuver through that. So we want to help parents feel comfortable, to empower them to see what is going on to help educate their children."

The topic isn't unfamiliar to the parents.

“I have heard of things that are said online,” said Jackie Baumann.

“Sometimes in the subdivision, there’s some fights between the boys,” added Eric Toup.

But the adults admit the topic of bullying is something they need to brush up on.

“As a single parent, give me a little ammo myself to deal with these issues later,” said Toup.

That’s why Ascension Public Schools is making prevention a group effort. Reaves is sharing the same presentation with middle school students. There is also an anonymous tip line that’s been created. Parents and students can text  847411 to report if they see something online or in the halls. That tip will go directly to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“It helps us to start the investigation process,” said Prairieville Middle School Assistant Principal Matthew Geraci.

All these elements are being used to stop an act that seems to be getting worse.

“Bullying is such a serious thing and it’s growing, unfortunately, and we want to do everything we can to be preventative and proactive,” said Ascension Public Schools Instruction Supervisor Melissa Langlois.

Monday night’s session was one of eight. The experts will hold a presentation at all middle schools in Ascension Parish for both students and parents.

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