A survey from an anti-bullying association says nearly 90-percent of kids and teachers across the country have witnessed some kind of bullying-- almost half say they've been victims.
Now the Maquoketa School District is making a new push to stop bullying in its tracks.
Lynnanne Nguyen reports.
Film trailer: "They said he's a geek, some kids had told him he's worthless, to go hang himself."
In the week before school starts, Maquoketa teachers from elementary up to high school are crowding into this theater to watch a movie. But it's not just any film.
Film trailer: "They punch me, strangle me, take things from me, sit on me."
The movie is called Bully and it shows the good, the bad and the ugly from both students and teachers.
"Sometimes we hear things like they'll grow out of it or kids will be kids. That's not true. Kids have kind of changed over time. Bullying has always been going on in schools but it may look different today," said Cindy Wiese, District Equity Coordinator.
The Maquoketa School District is using this film to start up discussions and do workshops on a very real subject in schools.
And they're doing it with everyone in the district-- from students and teachers to bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians and beyond.
"We're not trying to do it in the schools anymore, we want to involve the community, but sending a positive message comes with a hefty price tag. It cost the Maquoketa School District almost four-thousand dollars to allow every student and teacher in the district to see this movie here for free. And it was all raised through private donations," said Dr. Kim Huckstad, the district's superintendent. "We felt it was one of the best investments in both time and money we could make," he added.
For now-- the district is using it to train staff-- and get ideas on how to stop the problem-- such as using high school students as mentors for younger ones.
Kids in grades 8 through 12 will be watching and discussing the movie in school this week. Parents are invited to watch the film at the Voy Theater in Maquoketa starting August 24.