SJSD Follows Strict Policy Reviewing Bullying Cases

Published 02/24 2014 08:48PM

Updated 02/25 2014 02:15PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Reports of bullying in schools are becoming more common in the United States.

More than 3 million students, in the U.S., are victims of bullying each year.

The St. Joseph School District said they take reports about bullying very seriously.

"They're going to listen to whether it's coming from a student or parent, or a teacher even. They're going to take down the involved parties, then they're going to start their own internal investigation," said Dr. Jake Long, Director of Transportation and Safety for the St. Joseph School District.

A bullying investigation entails talking to anyone who may be involved, finding out when and where the incident happened, and if it's something that is reoccurring. If it is a serious case, the bully could face severe consequences.

"In-school suspension, maybe it has to come down to a conference with those parents, obviously with the students. Or, it could range from an out of school suspension," said Dr. Long.

That punishment is part of the district's student handbook. However, that outcome rarely happens.

"About one percent of all discipline referrals, and that's across the district, ends up being a bullying incident," said Dr. Long.

Heather Gladhart, Principal at Hall Elementary, said teachers and students at her school know what to look for in a bullying incident.

"A lot of the times, it will happen when an adult is not present. Or, when it's more of a large group setting such as a playground or in the lunchroom," said Gladhart.

Students are taught to be the eyes for teachers.

If they see or hear about someone getting bullied, they are supposed to tell an adult.

"They see and hear a lot of things that adults don't always see and hear. So, we want them to know that it is OK to report it because we need to stick up for each other," said Gladhart.

The district said that helps them keep bullying incidents to a minimum.

But, if a bullying incident is reported, they will not hesitate to take action.

"We look for situations such as that, and when it's happening, so we can be on top of it as much as we can," said Gladhart.

"It is something that they take very seriously and something that they want to get to the bottom of, and eliminate it if possible," said Dr. Long.

Bullying can cause many negative outcomes like mental health issues, substance use, or could even lead to suicide.

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