Bullying summit brings issue into light

Posted on: 5:36 pm, November 26, 2012, by , updated on: 05:37pm, November 26, 2012

“Girls get vicious, dudes get vicious,” said Roy Jones, a junior at Davenport Central High School. “They all talk stuff.”

Often at the front line of the war on bullies are school staff members and administrators like Davenport Schools Superintendent, Art Tate, who’ll be a panelist at Tuesday’s statewide bullying summit in Des Moines.

“If someone makes a report of bullying, then we have to follow up,” said Tate.

When it comes to the Internet, determining what is bullying gets a little tricky.

What’s defined as reportable, according to Iowa state law, is bullying “in school, on school property and at any school function or school-sponsored activity, regardless of its location.”

But, the law doesn’t specify whether cyber bullying would be punishable if it originated off-campus.

“It puts a lot of burden on the administration to try and make sure we’re effective in trying to stop the bullying,” he said.

Part of trying to stop it, in addition to defining it, is reporting it.

School districts are required to document all cases of bullying and send them to the State of Iowa.

For those looking for a little more anonymity, they can go to ReportBullyingIowa.com

A screen pops up and asks you to enter information. The report is then sent via email to the school and by the USPS.

Next month, the state will conduct its first data poll of all reported cases of bullying since the new data collection system was implemented this school year.

It might be little consolation for the countless victims out there, but, Jones has some advice.

“It’s still going to get to you,” he said. “But think, ‘That’s how they think and I’ll know it’s not true and I know that’s not what I’m about, then I’m not going to let it get to me.”

To participate in the conversation, you can do so via Twitter, using the #nobully hash tag.

They’ll also be streaming the summit live at https://preventbullying.iowa.gov.