Bullies Beware: Legislators are cracking down on this pervasive problem
School districts in Arizona are now required to teach cyberbullying awareness and monitor online chats and social media. And a congressional bill is being considered that would hold bullies accountable.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Bullies. Watch your step. Legislative efforts are underway to crack down on the pervasive problem of bullying.
School districts in Arizona are now required to teach cyberbullying awareness and monitor online chats and social media. And a congressional bill is being considered that would hold bullies accountable. But will these measures be effective? KGUN9's Valerie Cavazos sought out a student who knows the issue well.
12-year-old Levi Fallavollita loves to tell stories. Not fiction stories -- real life stories -- like the time he was bullied by a few friends when he was in 5th grade.
He wrote his experiences in a not-yet completed book titled, "The Good, the Bad and the Bullies."
Levi says he didn't know he was being bullied -- at first. "They were always just picking on me. Saying bad things about me like I don't look good in what I wear. They were always pushing me and all that," he said.
He talked to his parents about it and they came up with daily strategies to deal with the constant harassment. That is, until the situation took an disturbing turn. "One of the kids threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot me," he said.
His mother, Chantel Fallavollita, said, "At that point we called dad and I said you need to call the school right now."
Fortunately, the bullying stopped. "It did stop. I think a lot of it had to do with the parents getting involved and being responsible," said Levi's mother.
Levi shared one of his favorite lines in his book. "You may need to get an adult involved and don't be afraid of being called a snitch or tattletale," he read.
It's just one of many anti-bulling strategies that he wants to pass along to his peers. So what does Levi think about the legislative efforts to increase awareness and hold bullies accountable?
"I think there should be consequences and they should also have people go into classes like sheriff's and principals to tell the kids what it feels like to be bullied," he said.
And perhaps his story could be read in those classrooms.
Levi says his book, similar to his first one, will be published in about a month.
His parents say the most effective tool in combating bullying is providing parents and students with strategies to deal with various situations and they also believe the legislative measures are helping to address those issues.