Mayor Peduto: "It’s tough enough growing up and being a young kid. It makes it even harder when somebody is trying to put you down."By Briana Smith

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Children clapped for change Wednesday morning as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed an executive order to prevent bullying.

“It’s tough enough growing up and being a young kid,” said Peduto. “It makes it even harder when somebody is trying to put you down.”

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Mayor Peduto hopes the new “Youth Bullying Prevention Policy” will change that and make sure no one is bullied in city facilities.

(Photo Credit: Briana Smith/KDKA)

According to, one in five students — ages 12-18 — experience bullying nationwide.

“We can’t completely eliminate different types of behavior, but we can certainly take action to be proactive to limit the amount it happens,” said Peduto.

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The departments of Parks and Recreation, Human Resources and Civil Service, and Public Safety created the policy to be used in youth programs across the city.

“We’ve always had rules in place, but this is a bit different,” said Kathryn Vargas, the City of Pittsburgh’s Assistant Director of Community Recreation. “Putting a policy on paper, and particularly one that is interdepartmental and to serve the city at large, this is a priority of us.”

Staff will continue to participate in different courses, including sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression training.

“This will include more professional development about how to identify bullying and what it means to create environments that are safe and inclusive for all young people,” said VARGAS.

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City leaders say the training will be implemented by the fall, and they hope other programs will follow their lead.