Students and parents learn from experts about how to handle bullying situations

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- On Tuesday night, students at Karate American were getting a lesson on how to handle the worst of circumstances. Skills that are only used as a last resort.

That could include a bully pushing and hurting them or an attacker that's causing harm. The idea is to instill confidence.

"When you're in that moment and it happens, you have the tools," said Luke Smith, owner of Karate American.

He says there is a lot more that goes into standing up to bullies than just using your hands and feet.

The lesson he is trying to get across to this group of students is mental -- building self-confidence and knows it is better to walk away.

"We're gonna educate you mentally and physically," he said. "Physical being absolutely last scenario; walk, talk, run, tell somebody, there's no such thing as tattling when it comes to bullying," he said.

While these kids were learning downstairs, their parents were upstairs at American Karate getting a lesson of their own. Jeni Gronemus, a psychotherapist with Sacred Heart Hospital was teaching them how to identify the signs of bullying.

"Looking for certain signs, unexplained reluctance to be at school, anxiety, depression, decrease in school performance, things like that are signs to look for," she said.

She says bullying has become a bigger issue because it is happening in new places like the internet.

One suggestion she has: monitor what your kids are doing online, who they're communicating with and what they are talking about.

The most important thing a parent can do is get educated.

"My hope is I can offer them some tools to help them address this issue," she said.

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