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First ever Youth and Peace Conference tackles bullying

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

First ever Youth and Peace Conference tackles bullying

CREATED Mar 3, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -   It's an ongoing crisis in schools and no community is immune to it. Bullying takes a toll on students, schools and families. Tucson took a step forward and put on the first ever Youth and Peace Conference. The conference was aimed at giving students and parents the tools they need to help end bullying.

"Bullying is a major issue of violence," conference co-chair Ann Yellott said. "Whether it's cyberbullying or pushing and shoving, youth are dealing with bullying issue constantly."

9OYS has reported on bullying for the last few months. It's an epidemic rampant in schools across the country, and overtime it takes its toll.

"It creates a war zone," Yellott said. "What that means is youth are starting to experience PTSD."

Teens are having a harder time coping with that depression. The hope is the Youth and Peace Conference gives teens and adults the tools they need to stand up. Students 9OYS talked to say the tools they  have now aren't working.

Legislators like Rep. Raul Grijalva and council members like Regina Romero showed up to lend their voices to the cause. They are calling for civility from the halls of government to the corners of classrooms. But administrators tell 9OYS waging a war on bullying isn't easy.

"Now we're having to deal with Facebook and text messages and all kinds of other things," Alta Vista Principal Alicia Alvarez said. "These things have increased the opportunity to bully."

Event organizers say the key to combating bullying is students themselves. If the workshops are able to reach and connect with them, they'll use the lessons down the road. At the end of the conference, participants agreed to a peace pledge, a written commitment to treat one another with respect and dignity.