Bullying is a hot topic among those with school-aged children. With bullying being linked to school shootings, suicides and fights schools have had to step up their monitoring and reporting of incidents. The first state-wide report on bullying was just delivered this year and details how much bullying actually happens in CT.
The report covers incidents from the 2012-2013 school year, the first that a law required such documentation. Statewide there were 1,431 reported incidents of bullying. Most of the incidents (86) occurred in the Connecticut Technical School system. The Big Three were next: New Haven 74 , Hartford 71 and Bridgeport with 60. These numbers seem to fall where one might expect but it is difficult to say what they really mean as each system has different reporting guidelines.
While each district must report incidents of bullying the definition of the act is left up to that district. In essence, if a district is looking to keep their numbers down they might just have a higher threshold for actions they consider to be bullying. The new law does make the distinction between one-off acts and continued recurring acts. The latter being bullying while the former is probably not.
This all seems like a good idea but my fear is that it will end up a convoluted mess, much like Zero Tolerance policies. The new law sets up rules for documenting and reporting incidents which I find commendable. It also requires schools to staff a “school climate coordinator”. Their job is to ensure a safe school climate. To me that sounds A) like a bullshit title and B) like the responsibility of the school et all, not just one person.
It will be intersting to see how the districts use this information and if it is able to assist in combating bullying. The intangible in all of this is the kids. Sure, they can be cute and all but we all know the can also be cruel and are always looking for ways to game the system.
Via CTPost /Image: (c) iStock/Thinkstock