According to the PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) National Bullying Prevention Center, one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year. As National Bullying Prevention Month comes to an end, Indianapolis Public Schools continues to be committed to resolving bullying situations for everyone involved in a positive manner. IPS educators and staff participate in rigorous bullying prevention training to learn about the different types of bullying scenarios and how to best them.
Arsenal Technical High School “stands up” to bullying by implementing the “Take a Stand Box” for students to report bullying anonymously. Students write down any instance of bullying and put it in the box located in the Main office. Nakia Royal, School Social Worker, says tools like the Take a Stand box and the anonymous bullying reporting text line are key to increasing bullying reporting.
“Students aren’t reporting the bullying enough, so we put tools in place to make the reporting easier and more comfortable for them,” said Royal.
A district-wide process is swiftly put into motion once a report of bullying is made:
- A social worker receives the report, through the anonymous text line, Take a Stand Box, or direct report from victim or victims
- The social worker has 3 days to launch the investigation
- Once the initial investigation has started, the social worker has an additional three days to fully complete the investigation
- Paperwork is completed, letters are mailed home to the parents/guardians of each party involved
- Consequences are issued by the dean and a recommendation for counseling is provided, if deemed necessary, for the victim or the instigator
Jeanne Voida-Mulligan, Eleanor Skillen School 34 Social Worker, promotes taking a “kind” approach to bullying prevention. She conducts monthly peace lessons that center on being kind and suggests ways to handle conflicts in a peaceful manner.
“Every day we have conflict management time where I have trained students on how to conduct conflict management sessions. They learn how to ask questions and find resolutions by using positive conflict management skills,” said Voida-Mulligan.
“School 34 is all about kindness. Focusing on being kinder will eventually take bullying out of the equation all together. Every morning we have peace messages that are read on the announcements that encourage staff and students to be as kind as they can be to everyone,” said Voida-Mulligan.
Voida-Mulligan stresses that being kind to one another develops more positive relationships between the staff and students. This enables the students to feel more comfortable reporting bullying or reporting when they have a conflict with another student.
Tremendous strides have been made concerning bullying prevention and reporting across our district. Indianapolis Public Schools has everyone working together to create positive and uplifting learning environments for all students!