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La Paloma Academy, a charter school in Tucson, is using a national anti-bullying program to reduce the number of incidents at the academy’s three Tucson schools.

The program, called Olweus, is rooted in a varied approach depending on students’ ages, said Steve Leininger, a La Paloma principal.

The school holds classroom meetings to address age appropriate bullying topics. For instance, a younger group of students may discuss physical aggression, while an older group of students may cover cyber bullying, Leininger explained.

All meetings cover what bullying is, what it looks like, and how to prevent it, he said.

“It gives us a base definition for all of our stakeholders,” Leininger said. “It gives us a chance to all speak the same language about what bullying is.”

The school surveyed students and teachers, and found more than 50 percent said they had been bullied or witnessed bullying.

La Paloma Academy implemented the Olweus anti-bullying program because school officials felt it would help them respond to the changing climate of behavior in schools, Leininger said.

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