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Back to school: Dealing with bullies

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - As we continue our Back-To-School series, we explore a topic that has all but ruined the school experience for some kids and even pushed others to take their own lives.

Kane Turney is about to enter his final year in public school. And he says the last 12 years have been tough.

Kane: "I've been bullied pretty severely, I've been called names, I've been pushed, punched, and stuff like that."

It appears he's learned how to handle bullies these days, but, on the inside?

Kane: "I get like sprees of depression and stuff. And I just don't really want to go to school sometimes."

Kane is not alone. According to the DoSomething organization, over 3.2 million kids are victims of bullying each year. And many of those kids being bullied are too embarrassed or afraid to speak up about their experiences, leaving some parents having to figure out what’s wrong on their own.

Roberta Turney, Kane's mom: "Not wanting to go to school in the morning. Dragging your feet. He never wanted to go to school."

Kane and his mother talk openly about bullying now, but when he was younger, Roberta Turney had to figure it out on her own.

Roberta: "Sleep patterns. Nightmares...."

Sarah Shimek is in charge of bullying prevention efforts at Grand Forks Public Schools. She says there are things parents can look for if kids are being bullied.

Shimek: "There are negative effects on all students involved. The student being bullied might become quiet, withdrawn, and maybe isolate themselves and give short answers when asking, ‘how is school?’ They might actually manifest that into physical sickness like headaches and stomachaches."

Shimek says the most important thing is to talk to your kids. And listen.

Shimek: "We want to make sure we have those lines of communication open."

Something that Kane and mom have figured out.

Kane: "I've got a great support. I talk to my mom all the time. And I'm very thankful that she's here for me.”

Obviously Kane is not afraid to speak up about his experience being bullied, and he's also started a website raising awareness about bullying and how to deal with it.