Many of us have encountered instances of bullying and experienced unwanted, aggressive behaviors. Together, we can all play a role in standing up to those who make threats, spread rumors, exclude people from groups on purpose, and cause physical or verbal harm.
In Indiana, schools collect data about bullying and report that information to the Indiana Department of Education, which then provides a full report online at www.doe.in.gov. Parents are encouraged to write down bullying instances in terms of dates, who was involved and what happened, and then relay that information to their schools. This includes physical, verbal, social, written and electronic bullying.
By definition, bullying is a repeated incident, not just a one-time occurrence. While many schools work to stop bullying at the first instance, it may continue. By collecting this information, schools can take control of bullying, craft stronger policies and identify red flags.
All school employees and volunteers receive training on bullying prevention and intervention. Each school is also required to provide age-appropriate, research-based instruction focusing on bullying prevention in grades 1-12.
The DOE also maintains a link on its website providing resources for prevention and reporting of bullying and cyberbullying. This link is also included on all school district’s websites so that it is easily accessible by parents, caretakers and students. To learn more about Noblesville schools’ bullying prevention efforts, visit www.noblesvilleschools.org and click on Student Services under the Departments tab.
Another great resource is www.stopbullying.gov. This site provides information about the warning signs of bullying, cyberbullying tactics and tools for prevention.
We all have a role in preventing bullying. We need to help our kids understand what bullying is, how to stand up to it safely and that it is unacceptable. Let’s keep the line of communication open with our children, encourage them to do the things they love so they can boost their confidence, and model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
If you or someone you know is being bullied, please reach out to your parents, a teacher, friend or other adults in the community. If you witness bullying, speak up and talk to a trusted adult. As a community, let’s come together to respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior and let others know that it is not acceptable.
Kathy Kreag Richardson is a Republican State Representative from District 29, which includes Noblesville, and has served in the legislature since 1992. She also is the elections administrator for Hamilton County. You may contact her at h29@in.gov