Milwaukee Public Schools takes action against bullying

MILWAUKEE -- For many kids, being bullied is a daily reality. In an attempt to help kids who are being bullied, Children's Hospital brought an online program called "Act Now" into Milwaukee Public School District middle schools.

Seventh-grader Julia Esqueda knows the feeling of being bullied first-hand.

"I really didn't want to come to school because I was afraid that kid would come up to me and just say nasty things and stuff like that," Esqueda said.

"Act Now" is an online program that engages fourth through eighth-graders to show them the impact of bullying.

"It puts them in a variety of different situations and forces them to make decisions about how they react to those different situations -- whether they`re the bully, the bystander, or the victim," Bridget Clementi with Children's Hospital said.

Research shows the program has reduced the number of students bullied at MPS by more than 30%. Additionally, the program reduced the number students who bullied other students by nearly 60%.

"With these curriculum materials and our educators' help, students don`t have to accept bullying as simply a part of growing up," State Superintendent Tony Evers said.

Esqueda says it was "Act Now" that taught her how to stick up for herself.

"I know finally that it won`t happen again and I have teachers that protect me," Esqueda said.

Educators say they hope to eventually put an end to bullying.

"Act Now" began in October 2010.

Right now, it targets fourth through seventh-graders in select schools across the state, including MPS.

In February, kindergarten through third-graders will also participate in the curriculum.