Anti-bullying efforts paying off in a big way

There have been enough of these types of stories lately to declare that society is witnessing a significant shift when it comes to bullying.

Back in the day, the “cool” kids picked on the “weaker” ones. Fun times, indeed.

That’s changing. The “cool” kids now are the ones who intervene and protect their classmates, as Boyd Huppert’s story last night on KARE 11 shows.

Fifth grade boys in Mankato rallied to protect a classmate with special needs.

The boys also learned that James was adopted from an orphanage in Colombia and that six years later his new father was killed in a bicycle accident.

Since James doesn’t have a father to throw a ball to him, the boys have been glad to take on that roll.

“They’re changing him,” says James’ mom. “We just got a basketball hoop last week because he now loves basketball.”

And they’re still not done.

“We’re like, ‘Do you have any sports games?'” explains Jake. “And he was like, ‘No, I don’t have any video game systems.’ So that’s when I came up with the idea.”

With some of their own money and some from their parents, the boys recently delivered to James’ home, video games and new play station.

It was the first time friends from school had ever come to play with James.

The kids’ teacher says the school’s anti-bullying program deserves some of the credit, but she says the students’ kindness went far beyond her expectations.

A recent survey from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education proves that bullying at school is declining. Among kids ages 12 to 18, bullying dropped to 22% in 2013.