SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Last fall, data from WalletHub pointed to California as having the worst bullying problem in the U.S.

The data was based on one in four state high school students reporting that they were bullied on school property pre-pandemic.

On Friday, Sacramento police took steps to stop that problem before area kids get to high school. Officers visited Sol Aureus College Prep, otherwise known as SAC Prep, to give kids the tools to stand up for themselves and others.

It was a welcome visit for one 7th grader.

“This is actually very important because lately we’ve been going through a lot of it, and I think this will help a lot of us think about how bullying has affected a lot of people,” said Patty Oche, a 7th grader SAC Prep.

Students were reminded of all the ways that bullying can show up. Things like occasional name-calling and teasing can be part of a serious pattern of harassment.

“We just want kids to be aware right? One of the main reasons that you want to have these seminars and this kind of outreach is so they know how to protect themselves or protect their friends or family and build that trust with law enforcement,” said Norman Hernandez, principal at SAC Prep.

“The kids in the Sacramento area have been through a lot the last two years with the pandemic, and there’s a lot of issues that we’ve had in our schools that have been in the media recently. And we just want to reiterate that the topic of bullying, it comes down to how you treat one another. And we really encourage people to treat others like they would like to be treated,” Officer Zach Eaton said.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act allows kids to leave a public school deemed persistently dangerous because of bullying or other issues, but because of how narrowly construed that definition maybe only about 50 schools each year get the kind of label that lets kids escape.

Experts said it’s far more productive to show kids how to respect and value each other.