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July 22, 2013

Local schools clarify what makes a bully

Indiana code updates bullying definition

Per Indiana codes, local schools will be providing information about an updated bullying definition to students, staff and parents.

Indiana Code requires schools to provide information about bullying to students, parents. Bullying, according to IC 20-33-8-0.2, is unwanted, repeated acts or gestures or any other behaviorsthat are committed by a student or group of students with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate or harm the target and create an hostile school environment.

Southeastern School Corporation will provide training for students to help them understand what bullying is, said Trudie Hedrick, new Southeastern School Corporation superintendent.

“When someone says they’re being bullied it is a very serious accusation,” Hedrick said. “We need to know the definition. It will be a good educational experience.”

Indiana Code also states school corporations must prohibit bullying and have a procedure for investigation, plus provisions concerning education, parent involvement, discipline for staff who fail to report an investigation and for false reporting of bullying.

Administrators at Carroll Consolidated School Corporation are working on policies to include the new definition, according to Chris Lagoni, the schools’s superintendent. The first step will be adding the revised definition to handbooks and tracking discipline, Lagoni said.

“We want to make sure we track discipline instances to make sure things defined as bullying are getting tracked that way,” Lagoni said. “We’ll use the definition to help clarify.”

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade and staff in the Southeastern School Corporation will go through training, Hedrick said.

The training, led by a social worker on staff, will cover what bullying is, what it looks like and how to report it, and will begin soon after school starts.

“I hope it makes the staff feel more comfortable,” Hedrick said. “I also hope parents get a clear picture so if something happens to their child, they’ll understand what it means.”

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