Half of Allen County schools report zero bullying cases

Indiana law requires schools across Indiana to report the number of bullying cases every year to gauge how schools are handling them.

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 9:53 PM
Updated: Aug 13, 2019 8:55 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Forty-two of Allen County's 84 public schools reported zero bullying incidents during the 2018-2019 school year.

However, some people question if the low numbers are valid.

To request an audit:

Robin LeClaire
Director of School Improvement
317-232-0524

rleclaire@doe.in.gov

"A lot of times schools look at it as kids being kids. And a lot of the time it's not just kids being kids," said Melissa Hoover, who pulled her daughter from Fort Wayne Community Schools because of bullying.

Indiana law requires schools across Indiana to report the number of bullying cases every year to gauge how schools are handling them.

The Indiana Department of Education said this is the first year every school submitted their numbers, but many of those numbers are still low.

"That's because this report is measuring the state's definition of bullying," said Fort Wayne Community Schools spokeswoman Krista Stockman.

Indiana defines bullying repeated unwanted physical, verbal or cyber behavior that creates a hostile school environment.

No high school in Allen County reported more than five cases of bullying.

IDOE said reporting these numbers have turned into a double edge sword for schools.

"Here we are saying 'Hey schools eradicate bullying' and then they stand up and say 'Hey I've done it' and we say 'No that's not true,'" said Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker.

Stockman said just because they are reporting few cases, doesn't mean they aren't addressing issues that come up.

Some parents, like Hoover, don't think the law goes far enough, because it doesn't spell out consequences for students and their parents.

Now she's hoping to for more severe consequences, including a fine for the bully's parents.

"It's giving parents, along with all the children involved, ample opportunities to fix the situation before it actually gets to the fining," she said.

Stockman said parents can help reduce bullying by volunteering in schools.

There is an online petition for stricter bullying laws in Indiana.

You can read the state bullying report on the Indiana Department of Education's website.

If you feel it isn't correct, contact your child's school or the Indiana Department of Education.

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