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Officer Field Program To Raise Awareness About Bullying, Stranger Danger

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GRAFTON -

BullyingStatistics.org said about one in four kids are bullied in schools on a daily basis.

The Grafton Police Department participates in a yearly program that aims to reduce those numbers and teach important life lessons.

"The Officer Field Program is a program that is set up by a company that brings in a jail man," said Lieutenant Michael Kochka, Grafton Police Department. "They send them to different schools. They use puppets, they use different teaching aids in order to teach young children about bullying and about stranger danger."

The Grafton Police Department has been involved in the Officer Field Program for more than seven years now.

"We try to use the program to teach kids that just because you're different, there's nothing wrong with that," Lt. Kochka said. "Each person is different and everyone should work together."

Officers go to every Taylor County elementary school to discuss the dangers of talking of strangers and bullying, while adding a little bit of fun.

"They love the program," said Heather Mugnano, Anna Jarvis Elementary Assistant Principal. "They had many times throughout the whole program where they were laughing, kids got to ask questions. It was very entertaining but very educational at the same time."

Lt. Kochka said it's important to teach elementary school students about bullying early in their school careers. The sooner they know about bullying, the less likely it is to happen in middle or high school.

"The bullying part is a major issue," Lt. Kochka said. "If we don't get it stopped earlier in childhood then they grow up thinking its ok to bully the others that may not be like them."

The Officer Field Program visited Flemington and Anna Jarvis Elementary Schools Monday and will visit West Taylor on Friday.

"We have a good response from the kids and we actually had a good response from some of the parents," said Lt. Kochka.

Grafton Police said anyone who is a victim of bullying should report it to their schools.