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First meeting held for City of Milwaukee's anti-bullying task force

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The City of Milwaukee's anti-bullying task force held their first meeting Monday evening.

The task force was created at the request of the Milwaukee Common Council. Right now, the task force is focusing on the needs in Milwaukee Public Schools, but they want schools city-wide to be able to benefit from the work they put together.

The newly formed task force is made up of students, parents, MPS representatives, social workers, psychologists and the Milwaukee County District Attorney.

"As the Milwaukee County District Attorney, I would estimate a third of my office is dedicated to addressing issues that affect the children in our community," said District Attorney John Chisholm, Milwaukee County.

Parent and activist Tracey Dent is the chair. He says he got the council together because his daughter was bullied.

"It got so bad, it got to a point where she wanted to kill herself, and as you know, as parents, you know that you feel helpless when something like that happens, and my daughter, at the time, was only 10 years old," said Tracey Dent, Anti-Bullying Task Force Chair.

With the help of the city, Dent says his goal was not just to solve his daughter's bullying problem, but to help all students.

The task force agreed, bullying is a problem in Milwaukee. The first item on the agenda was finding a City of Milwaukee definition for bullying.

"Any accurate bullying definitions are going to have three elements. It's going to have an imbalance of power, repetition over time, and victim distress. That's it," said task force member Dr. Jim Larson, Professor & Psychologist at UW-Whitewater.

As it stands, the task force has a life of 6 months. After that timeframe, they'll report to the Public Safety Committee who will decide whether the task force should continue.

The task force wants to include you -- eventually planning to hold town hall meetings to ask community members and parents about their problems. Those are expected to happen around the start of the next school year.


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