Beshear Forms Task Force to Combat Bullying in Kentucky
Gov. Steve Beshear on Thursday announced the creation of a new task force aimed at combating bullying in Kentucky’s schools.Beshear, citing statistics from the Kentucky Department of Education, said the state had 15,000 reported incidents of bullying in the 2012-2013 school year. He also discussed research that links bullying with dropout rates and teen suicides.“When you have these incidents of bullying contributing to teen suicides and attempted suicides, that’s a huge problem," Beshear said. "So we’re going to take a comprehensive look at this, and hopefully come up with some other avenues and some other tools that will give us a comprehensive set of solutions.”Task force member Morgan Guess, an 11-year-old enrolled at Paducah’s Lone Oak Middle School, said she was prescribed anti-depressants for the trauma of getting bullied.“When I was just 8-years-old I was bullied by a classmate," she said. "She pulled my hair, pinched me on the back of the neck and even threw her shoulder into my back. She isolated me from my all friends and I felt all alone. I experienced stomach spasms and panic attacks."The 22-member Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force will examine legislative approaches and school practices, and the link between cyber-bullying and teen suicide. The group will provide a written report of its findings to the governor’s office in November 2015.