- Nevada recently joined five other states and a few independent school districts in launching an online bullying reporting system that allows students and parents to report incidents of bullying discretely.
- The system is more effective because students feel safer and less stigmatized when reporting bullying incidents at school or away from the campus, and it can also be used to report more personal issues such as self-harm or knowledge of weapons on campus.
- Administrators must also create clear protocols for dealing with these issues and assign staff members to monitor online systems and initiate protocols.
The vast majority of students never report school bullying because of fear or embarrassment. With the growing use of online reporting methods and reporting apps, the process of reporting and documenting incidences of bullying should be easier than ever. These programs should also allow schools to track repeated instances of bullying by a student so proper steps can be taken to deal with the situation.
This means schools need to have clear policies in place that include instances of cyber-bullying. If school districts or states are implementing online bullying programs, these issues will also need to be addressed in updated policies. While these policies are being updated, school districts may also want to look at including restorative justice initiatives if they haven't already.
Bullying is sometimes portrayed in the media as a rite of passage for young people. But it is a clear form of abuse that would not be tolerated in most adult situations. Schools need to take clear steps to deal with both the victim and the aggressor and help them both learn lessons of character that will stay with them for the future. Bullying not only affects students' emotional well-being, it is a school security issue. It also affects graduation rates and can be a major factor in students' decisions to leave public schools for another option. While it sometimes seem easier to avoid dealing with bullying issues, avoidance is really not an option. Every child deserves a safe learning environment.