Need to prevent bullying brings county attorney to Chinle


Navajo Times | Arlyssa Becenti
Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting visited Chinle Elementary School on March 24 to give an anti-bully presentation.

Chinle Elementary second grade teacher Helen First sees bullying happening among the students in her school.

To address this problem First decided to bring out the person who has made it his own personal mission to combat bullying to speak to the entire school about what is bullying and how to prevent it, and that is Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting, who was accompanied by his investigator Brian Hounshell.

“We have a lot bullying at the schools and I know (Whiting) has a bullying program,” said First. “Bringing a bullying presentation would make a difference with the kids.”

Chinle Elementary School is made up of grades kindergarten through 6th grade and all these grades attended a brief but informative presentation done by Whiting. First said the sooner and younger they can teach children about the perils of bullying, the better.

“I believe bullying starts in elementary, it starts in all the schools,” said First. “I hate to say it, but it probably also starts at home.”

Combating bullying has been a priority for Whiting who holds an annual anti-bully poster competition for all schools within Apache County. Making appearances and speaking on the grim topic is another avenue he and his office have taken to get out into the communities and make kids familiar with the different types of bullying.

“Repetition is the mother of all learning,” said Whiting. “The more sources and different people it comes from, the more it sticks with you.”

If Whiting is unavailable then his staff takes over and does the presentation. Hounshell said that this is one of the most important discussions they give at schools, and the requests for the bully talk is so high that if they were to go to all the schools that requested the presentation then Whiting’s office wouldn’t have time to prosecute or get other work done.

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Categories: Community

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at