JCPS tackles anti-bullying policy enforcement
JEFFERSON CITY —
Missouri is one of seven states that does not have a statewide anti-bullying policy. However, it does have laws, and those laws mandate that Missouri schools have certain policies.
Director of Counseling Carrie Welch said she likes getting to be part of the district's decisions in how to handle bullying.
"What works in your school and with your student population may not work in a suburban or rural, smaller school district," she said. "To be able to craft what that looks like within the provisions, I think is very helpful."
In Jefferson City Public Schools a form is used to report bullying. Students, parents, and faculty can report what they have seen or experienced. From there, an investigation ensues. During the investigation administrators utilize school security video and they talk with individuals involved to look into the situation. Welch said this can be time consuming.
"It takes two days approximately where they watch videos," she said. "They talk to other students. They talk to that student, and then it can take your whole day depending upon what's going on."
The toughest part of enforcing the district policy, she said, is deciding what constitutes as bullying. She said it is up to counselors and administrators to decide.
"Is it repetitive?" she said. "Have they done it more than one time? Or is this student mean to you in this block, but then in this block they're mean to this kid, and then maybe they're mean to another kid, and then they don't ever say anything to you ever again because maybe they were having a bad day. You have to look at those pieces to see if it's truly defined as bullying or harassment."
Below are links to various area district's bullying policies.