LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS 11) - Bullying can make school unbearable for students, but JCPS has dedicated major resources to deal with the issue. The district has a team who specifically works with students, parents, and staff to look out for and stop bullying.
The bullying prevention resource team organizes everything from small groups to professional development.
“We really get in there and dig deep and get to the bottom of the case. We work to set up safety plans for students and certainly enjoy doing all of that work because it’s just really so critical. We want to make sure our students feel safe and supported in their schools,” Bullying Prevention Resource Teacher for JCPS Pam Sheehan said.
The team is also setting up student support groups at middle schools across the district. It said that type of peer backing is another key piece to stopping bullying.
JCPS said there are certain things parents should watch for when it comes to bullying. Look out for physical signs like torn clothing and mysterious injuries. There are also social and emotional signs of bullying to keep an eye out for. Those include withdrawing from activities and doing things in social settings, sleeping a lot, overeating, not eating enough, reluctance to go to school, reporting mysterious ailments, and other nervous tendencies.
JCPS recommends sitting down with the child, having an open and honest conversation, and being a compassionate listener. Parents can also talk to the school counselor, but Sheehan said it’s important to know how to decipher if it’s really bullying that a child is experiencing.
“It’s critical that parents and students understand the difference between bullying and what we consider to be just normal peer conflict. Sometimes, we have problems with our friends. We get in an argument. We might get our feelings hurt. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. Many times kids can patch up their problems,” Sheehan said.
JCPS recently set up a bullying hotline. Anyone can call and leave an anonymous tip. The number is: 888-393-6780.
It can also be accessed through this website: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/23217/index.html
“It is a method for students or family members to report bullying on an anonymous forum that is then shared with us and we channel it back to the school so that the school can address it,” Sheehan said. “It is very useful if you have that reluctance or you’re not comfortable going and letting your parents know or having that conversation, which might be difficult with someone at school.”