January 13th, 2012

Listen to the Whole Show

Wyoming Department of Education takes on bullying in Wyoming Schools
In 2009 the Wyoming legislature passed a very aggressive anti-bullying law for Wyoming schools.  It required all school districts to develop and implement a plan for how to deal with bullying.  It involves both prevention and how schools deal with bullying.  Some suggest that the problem is being overblown, while other districts suggest that this is a serious matter.  Coming up we will hear from all sides.  We begin our discussion with State Superintendent Cindy Hills, and the head of the safe schools initiative in the state Bruce Hayes.  They speak with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Green River teaches manners to prevent bullying
Like all districts in the state, the schools in Green River were required to institute an anti-bullying program. But principals say bullying hasn’t really been that big a problem in Green River. So the program they’ve instituted focuses on teaching kids good manners. They say kids very much need a dose of civility, and that better behavior should prevent bullying before it becomes a major issue.

National statistics show bullying diminishes from elementary to middle school, but bigger classes and strange new hormones can make it a stressful time for kids. Principal Jason Sleep and Assistant Principal Jason Schiller took the helm at Powell Middle School in 2004, and identifying bullying as an emerging national issue – set up a game plan to deal with bullying long before the legislature asked them to. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez visited with them this fall, and joins us in the studio to talk about it.

Sticks and Stones: Cheyenne schools reeling from tragedy
Last spring, Laramie County school district number one, which serves all of Cheyenne, started working on its bullying plan.  It will train everyone from teachers to students. Recently, the district was reminded how important these efforts are as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

Why kids bully: A conversation with psychologist Cynthia Hartung
We’ve heard about the ways different school districts are trying to curb bullying. Now, we turn to a psychology expert to find out why some kids become bullies … what can be done to stop their behavior … and whether bullying is really such a big deal, or just the latest hot-button issue. Cynthia Hartung researches disruptive behavioral disorders at the University of Wyoming. She says before we talk about the causes and cures of bullying, we have to understand what bullying really is – what sets it apart from just kids being kids.

Geophysicist: Wyoming’s Warm Winter Is Nothing New
Federal hydrologists predict below average runoff this year due to a lack of snow this winter… and estimate that the states runoff will be at about 81 percent of average. This winter has definitely felt warm, so I spoke with Bryan Shuman - associate professor at the University of Wyoming in geology and physics. He tells Tristan Ahtone that the first two weeks of this winter have been unusually warm, but consistent with a 50 year trend he’s been studying.

Women’s prison seeks funding for nursery
The women’s prison in Lusk is hoping to make it easier for incarcerated mothers to stay connected with their children. The vast majority of inmates there have kids – or give birth while they’re serving their sentences. Now, the prison wants to open a nursery, so inmates who give birth in prison up can keep their babies with them for up to 18 months. The nursery would also enable older children to have overnight visits with their mothers. Ten other states already have similar programs … and Prison Warden Phil Myer tells Willow Belden that, based on what’s happening in those places, a nursery here would benefit inmates, their children and society as a whole.

Wind River Tribes might head back to court over mineral mismanagement
In the class action lawsuit Cobell vs. Salazar, plaintiff Elouise Cobell accused the Federal Government of mismanaging nearly 150-billion dollars in royalties owed to Indian landowners due to the loss and destruction of records. The government agreed to a $3.4 billion dollar settlement – and government data estimates there are up to 8,000 possible beneficiaries here in Wyoming.