NBC26 Special Report: Bullying Concerns
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
GREEN BAY-- Bullying is becoming a concern in schools across the country. The number of reported bullying incidents is rising here in Northeast Wisconsin and school leaders are working to stop what some parents are calling a growing trend.
Every school district has a bullying policy in place. Several districts have updated those policies after a series of school bullying incidents have brought increased attention to bullying and how it's affecting our kids.
"It can start to affect their grades, their attendance, it can affect their self-esteem, it can make them not want to be here not, not want to be around other children," said Lisa Misco, Director of Student Services for the Pulaski School District.
The Pulaski school district is going to the Internet to detect and report bullies, using BIRTS, an acronym for Bullying Incident Response Tracking Software. The software allows students and parents to report a bullying incident. The reports are ranked starting at 1-10 depending on the severity. Three minor incidents will trigger an alarm.
Patrick Ryan is managing partner of My Safe Schools in Green Bay. He says the software helps school districts keep up with bullying during challenging times. But Ryan says he’s frustrated in the lack of interest in using the software by local school districts. Ryan says about 80 schools have signed up to use the reporting system, but fewer than a dozen are implementing it fully.
"It must be used, it does no good for us to put in a school and have the school put it on its shelf it must be implemented to say that you belong to the BIRTS program but not have implemented the program does nobody any good," Ryan said.
For students who say they are victims and their parents, they hope school districts will begin to be proactive with bullying, instead of reactive.