Changes could come for school reported bullying statistics

NOW: Changes could come for school reported bullying statistics


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- New legislation may change how schools in Indiana report bullying and ultimately, deal with it. 

The Indiana Department of Education lists each school in the state, and their self-recorded data regarding bullying.

By law, schools are expected to record incidents of bullying.

The data is separated by physical, verbal, electronic, and social incidents. 

The new law, if passed, would allow the government to step in and audit the school districts to make sure the data is being recorded accurately. 

It would also require state surveys, and other parameters, to ensure transparency. 

But some parents across the Michiana area, say they fear sending their kids to school, because of the constant bullying they're facing. 

"I hate to do it, because I feel like I'm sending him to the lions' den, and that I'm sending him to the situation right again," says Christie Fullilove. "It hurts."

It hurts Fullilove, each day, sending her 7-year-old son, Taylen, to first grade at Coquillard Traditional School.

She says, each school day for her and Taylen, is a nightmare. 

"I'm praying that when he comes home and says he had good day," she explains. "When he doesn't, my heart falls to my shoes. I feel so bad for him."

Fullilove says she's not the only one who is concerned with bullying taking place in schools across the county. 

"I have a couple of friends who say the same thing, that they're daughters are being bullied," says Fullilove. 

And the statistics somewhat back that up. 

Per the statistics listed on the IDOE website for the 2016-2017 school year, Penn-Harris-Madison schools recorded no bullying at any school in the district.

A school official tells ABC57 that it was due to a human and coding error.  She explains that there were really 18 incidents in the district. 

Mishawaka schools recorded 72 total bullying incidents throughout their ten schools, and South Bend Community School Corporation recorded a total 286 incidents.

Coquillard, where Fullilove's son attends, recorded four physical and one verbal bullying incident.

"No. It's more than four with my son alone," says Fullilove, with a laugh. "There's bullying everywhere."

She believes that acknowledgement is the first step in fixing this problem.

So she's hoping the state really does step in, so action can be taken.

"They're not reporting it accurately and they need to," says Fullilove. "People send their kids to school to get an education. Not to get tormented. Not to get beaten up. And not to get treated unfairly. So they need to report everything."

Currently, the bill just needs to get approved by the Attorney General and the Governor, before it can be enacted. 

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