Bullying has long been a problem on school grounds, and now made worse with technology.
KIMA learned that bullying cases have dropped significantly around the Lower Valley.
"It hurts your self esteem, and when it hurts your self esteem you just react different to things," said Erica Linde, a Sunnyside 8th grader.
Despite the old "sticks and stones" saying, Erica Linde knows first hand that words can be hurtful.
As one of the few Caucasian students growing up in the pre-dominantly Hispanic community of Sunnyside, she often times felt outcast. But all that has changed.
"The climate of the school has changed a lot, because the students just have a better attitude especially towards each other," said Linde.
Officials at Sunnyside Middle School told Action News that they've implemented several new programs to address behavior and bullying issues.
In one program, adults serve as advisors to a small group of students they meet with weekly to build positive relationships and work towards setting goals.
"Assuring kids that it isn't ok, you know that if it is happening as friends or yourself, you've got to talk to an adult," said Doug Rogers, Sierra Vista Middle School Principal.
The numbers show that bullying incidents in several districts around the Lower Valley have gone down substantially, specifically in Sunnyside and Wapato, and have remained low in Grandview.
"Once a kid knows that you care about them it's different being at school. I think with any of us, any adult, when you feel like you belong, then you want to be there, and I think when you want to be there then you want to succeed," said Rogers.
Sunnyside Officials pointed out the correlation between a decrease in bullying and an increase in academic achievement. The graduation rate has double in the last five years.
"Things have definitely been improving because I've just had a better attitude about it, and I've learned to kill people with kindness," said Linde.
Sunnyside officials also pointed out a program called Safe Schools, which allows students, parents, and community members to notify school officials anonymously online about potential concerns.