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Editorial: Bullying effort to target our teens

A new message next fall via the Cartoon Network will encourage America's youth to become foot soldiers in an important fight against bullying.

This bullying campaign will target middle school students -- including the bullies, the bullied and the bystanders watching the bullying.

Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo and other cartoon favorites will become the messaging icons in this anti-bullying program.

The program will focus on middle school students as this age group is often where bullying is the most prevalent.

This is a critical key in battling the scourge of bullying. Programs like Sesame Street on PBS have been carrying the anti-bullying message to pre-schoolers for decades.

The bullying scourge will not be curbed by cartoon characters alone, but will need a coordinated effort by students, educators, parents and authorities. It is critical that all adults take bullying seriously.

Bullying is a serious issue. The fatal school shooting at Columbine in Colorado, Rocori in Cold Spring and Red Lake on the Red Lake Nation all were triggered in part by bullying.

A number of youth and teen suicides across the country during the past year were triggered in part by bullying.

So bullying is not just part of growing up. It can develop quickly and silently into a crisis in growing up -- both individually as well as for school institutions.

A critical point that bystanders witness 85 percent of bullying incidents, while only about one-fifth of the times do the bystanders intervene.

However, those cartoon educational and other efforts, bystanders can learn that their intervention can be critical in stopping the bullying and, maybe, save a life.