Bullying is main reason kids bring weapons to school
Report shows students in Lee County wanted to fight back
LEE COUNTY - Bullying at school has some students packing heat. Tonight....a report shedding light on why students are carrying guns in the classroom. In Lee County most students arrested with deadly weapons say they were being bullied and decided to fight back. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason live now at Cape High School with a story you'll only see on Fox 4.
Last March...a student here at Cape High was overheard saying he wanted to get a gun so he could kill people. Luckily this situation didn't end tragically and experts hope parents can spot the signs of trouble before it's too late.
This is what can happen when bullying gets out of control. Tonshelle Bailey says a girl who used to bully her in high school suddenly attacked her one day in East Fort Myers.....all as other girls watched.
Steven Cohen: "When one person is bullying another and others stand by and watch and don't do anything that's just as bad as bullying themselves ‘cause they're reinforcing it."
Fort Myers psychologist Steven Cohen says bullying is an epidemic. In fact, bullying is cited as the main reason students in Lee County bring weapons to school.
Steven Cohen: "Sometimes when these kids go home and bring a gun to school, in their mind they're fighting back but there's other ways to handle the bullying."
We requested a list of all cases involving weapons at Lee County schools in 2012.....we found 6 students were arrested for bringing guns to class.
At Dunbar High 3 incidents involving guns....one student had a loaded .38 caliber and threatened to shoot several other students if they didn't leave him alone.
At East Lee County High....one student pulled out a knife to defend himself during a fight.
The next month, a student threatened to bring a gun to school to deal with bullies and in September 2 students with guns were arrested.
At Sunshine Elementary, one student says he brought a loaded .45 caliber to class so kids would stop picking on him.
Steven Cohen: "They just don't know what else to do."
Cohen says students who are bullied often begin acting out at home and parents should watch for clues.
Steven Cohen: "Looking for any changes in the friends they're hanging out with whether it's sudden or gradual just changes in their mood or attitude about school in general if they're sick more often and they're avoiding things, all those are signs that something's up."
Cohen says bullying can also cause kids to become introverted and even hurt themselves. Some become bulimic or cut themselves....he says the best solution is communication.