LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Principal Brent Mitchell of Fuller Middle School in Pulaski County said he takes proactive measures to preempt bullying.
"You can't just sit in your office and read emails," said Mitchell.
He said high visibility is a key to building relationships with students. He uses the time between classes not only to make sure students behave, but to spot possible bully situations. He hopes building interaction will make it easier for his kids to approach him.
"We had to see whether it was just over something silly," said the mother of a 14-year-old who claims her son was bullied.
"He told us that day he had been cornered by a group of students," said the mother.
She said an in depth conversation with her son would reveal he had been bulled over the past year. She said the next day she and her husband headed straight to his school.
Mitchell said it is also important to build relationships with parents.
"Most parents will come in and give me the chance to fix it," said Mitchell.
He said one tactic that has worked well is bringing the parent of the victim and bully together.
"It's a little awkward at first but I think the key is to build a relationship with the parent on the front end." said Mitchell.
He said before the meeting, he tries to build a positive relationship with both parents making them less defensive.
Principal Mitchell said bullying often becomes a problem when children reach middle school.
"I think it's the first time kids actually interact with other kids," said Mitchell.
Principal Mitchell said more times than not, smaller, introverted kids are often the target of bullies.
He said there are things parents can do to be proactive.
"If you take them to summer camps, maybe church activities," said Mitchell.
He said even parent trips to the mall with friends can work to socialize children.
Mitchell said often times bullying starts online with cyber bullying.
"When they say they're having a Facebook issue I can't access that here," said Mitchell.
The mother who said her son was bullied said she keeps a close watch on her son's social media usage and text messages.
"He has a Facebook account, but we watch that closely. He's only allowed to text people we know," said the mother.
After two trips to her son's school she said the bullying ended. She applauds her son's teachers and principal, but said she continues to be proactive in preempting bullying.