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Former Bully Says Addressing Problem Should Start With Helping The Bully

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Beau Vrbas talks with CBS4's Suzanne McCarroll (credit: CBS)

Beau Vrbas talks with CBS4′s Suzanne McCarroll (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Some say to treat the problem of bullying, what is causing that person to be so angry needs to be addressed. CBS4’s Suzanne McCarrroll talked to a young man who says a principal and a teacher helped him change his ways.

“I basically got in a fight with them, cops followed me to my house down the street, and that is when I pretty much got hit with an assault charge,” Beau Vrbas said.

Vrbas was 12 at the time. Looking back he says he was a classic, and at the time, unapologetic bully.

“I wanted to be recognized, so when I was a bully I felt like I was getting attention and people were looking at me,” he said.

Along the way a school principal and an English teacher helped Vrbas focus on what was triggering his anger and how better to refocus it. He joined the Marines after high school and is now in college, but he worries about children who have rightfully been labeled bullies.

“No one wants to hear the bully’s story because it sounds like you want to make yourself the victim when everyone knows you are the bully,” Vrbas said. “The bulk of the people definitely want to recognize the victim, and that makes sense because they are the ones who are getting hurt, but the source of the problem starts with the kid who is bullying.”

Gabriella van Rij has written a book and come up with a three-step plan to stop bullying by focusing in large part on the bully in addition to the victim.

“It could be simply because they are acting out because of fear and other self-esteem issues that the bully and the victim have absolutely in common,” she said.

Social media has allowed bullying to go from neighborhood parks to the Internet. Even the simplest childhood angst can now be viewed immediately online.

Vrbas is convinced if the principal and teacher hadn’t stepped into his life, what started in a park could have led him down a very dangerous path.

“I don’t think I can honestly say I am sitting in college and ex-military right now if I didn’t have that help.”

Vrbas says he’s interested in going into education to help other children choose the right path in life.

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