A recent incident at Franklin High School has many talking about bullying in local schools.
Lauren Williams, a 16-year old FHS student with a scalp condition had her wig ripped off by a group of students — whom later posted video of the incident on social media, according to what Myckelle Williams, the girl’s mother, wrote on Facebook. Read more here.
Bullying has been an important issue for parents and this incident has created a social media storm, creating a platform for many to discuss and ask questions regardng the bullying policy in schools.
In response to bullying, Williamson County Schools developed its ‘BE NICE‘ campaign to promote anti-bullying, which was started by Fairview High students in 2013.
The district also has specific policies that define what bullying is, how to deal with it, and more.
WCS policy on bullying:
“Bullying and bullying-related behaviors (e.g. cyber-bullying, intimidation, hazing, harassment, etc.) are unacceptable behaviors, are strictly prohibited, and will not be tolerated. Behavior that is found to be in violation of this policy shall be subject to discipline, up to and including suspension or expulsion.
Principals shall be responsible for publicizing this policy, including notice to students and
employees that this policy applies to behavior at all school-sponsored activities. All WCS
employees shall be responsible for implementation of this policy.
Each school shall implement a bullying awareness program.
The school policy defines bullying and hazing as:
Bullying: Bullying is defined by Tennessee law as any act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance, and has the effect of:
1) Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property;
2) Knowingly placing the student or students in reasonable fear of physical harm to the
student or damage to the student’s property;
3) Causing emotional distress to a student or students; or
4) Creating a hostile educational environment.
Hazing: Hazing is defined by Tennessee law as any act that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health, physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation, or as a condition of attaining membership in, or affiliation with, any school-sponsored activity or grade level attainment.”
Examples of bullying, from WCS policy:
1) Overt, repeated acts or gestures made with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, or
2) Physical or psychological intimidation;
3) Stated or implied threats;
4) Use of any language, written or unwritten, hand gestures or other forms of expression
aimed at defining a student in a sexual manner or impugning the character of a student
based on allegations of sexual promiscuity;
5) Assault of a student, whether physical, verbal, psychological, or emotional;
6) Attacks on personal property; and
7) Communication of any of the above, or an intent to undertake any of the above, whether
made in person or by electronic device.
Bullying Statistics and Facts
- One out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015)
- 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36 percent reported the bullying. (Petrosina, Guckenburg, DeVoe, and Hanson, 2010)
- More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. (Hawkins, Pepler, and Craig, 2001)
- School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%. (McCallion and Feder, 2013)
- The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%). (Davis and Nixon, 2010
- 6% of high school students in the US report being bullied at school in the past year. 14.8% reported being bullied online. (Center for Disease Control, 2014)
- 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline. (“Seven Fears and the Science of How Mobile Technologies May Be Influencing Adolescents in the Digital Age,” George and Odgers, 2015)
The effects of bullying can affect not only a student’s ability to perform at school but lead to depression and physical ailments:
- Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression. (Center for Disease Control, 2015)
- Students who engage in bullying behavior are at increased risk for academic problems, substance use, and violent behavior later in adolescence and adulthood. (Center for Disease Control, 2015)
- Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied. (Center for Disease Control, 2015)
- Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches. (Gini and Pozzoli, 2013)
Parents, guardians, teachers and even siblings can help prevent bullying by talking about it. Here are some great tips from stopbullying.gov:
- Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
- Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.