Washington Irving School 14 Principal Karen Hastings noted that the key to dealing with bullying lies in making it more visible to address. An important piece to making bullying more visible is to increase the number of students who are comfortable reporting the behavior they see that might be bullying.

Hastings said she sees that change happening, “Kids are learning to report more, which allows the staff and the administration more opportunities to address any issues.”

She believes the lessons about reporting that behavior are taking hold and we’re seeing “a mindset change from ‘snitching’ and ‘tattling’ to ‘reporting.’”

That mindset change is a big part of the education Sgt. Floyd Peterson of the IPS police department gives to students when he addresses a class about bullying.

“Witnesses are the most powerful people in a bullying situation,” he said. “We try to empower witnesses. Try to get rid of the term ‘snitch’ and empower witnesses to be reporters.”

And Principal Hastings added the reporting isn’t only coming from her students. She said “more parents are sharing what their kids tell them” now more than ever before.

What a powerful change! Students and parents are sharing good information with teachers and staff about potential bullying situations. Indianapolis Public Schools has everyone working to create positive and uplifting learning environments for all students!