That’s the number of students in the West Virginia school system who were disciplined for bullying, harassment or intimidation for the 2011-12 school year.
That’s the number of cases that went through the proper channels and ended with a disciplinary action. That doesn’t count the incidents not reported. That doesn’t count the students who suffer in silence or don’t feel like an incident is worth reporting.
And not surprisingly, the majority of incidents happened in middle schools statewide. According to the report, presented to the state school board late last month, 26 percent of incidents happened in high schools, 18 percent in elementary schools and the remaining incidents in middle schools/junior highs.
“The middle schools, that’s where it occurs,” state schools Superintendent Jim Phares said following the presentation of the report to the joint committee on education. “Part of it is the growth and lack of maturity of the students.”
The report says that bullying can be prevented by improving “overall conditions for learning.”
Since bullying accounts for only about 3 percent of infractions statewide, the theory is that if you create an environment where misbehavior and disobedience are not acceptable or tolerated, the number of cases of bullying will decline. The report also said that assemblies and single class lessons devoted to bullying are not very effective. The report also calls for extra training for teachers and administrators so they feel more capable to handle a bullying incident as well as promoting positive behavior in the classrooms and in the hallways. The final recommendation highlighted in the report is making sure that kids are serving suspensions in school so those children are “not deprived of needed supports.”
It’s a tough issue to deal with. On one hand, you know the behavior is very age-related, but on the other hand, no child should have to suffer through teasing, torment, fear and physical attacks. So what do you do?
We took the question to our faithful online readers, who log on each week to www.timeswv.com to answer our weekly online poll question. Last week we asked, “A recent study found that about half of the state’s bullying issues are happening on the middle school level. What do you think would help the most?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• More and better training for teachers and administrators — 9.76 percent.
• More focus on the issue and not just an assembly here and there — 15.85 percent.
• Not much ... It’s just an age thing that most kids grow out of — 19.51 percent.
• Consistent discipline and constant education — 54.88 percent.
No matter what, we can’t give up on our kids. Those who are hurting and in pain hurt others. Those who have been hurt by bullying carry around scars forever.
This week, let’s talk about the complex issue of the death penalty as some high-profile cases have brought the controversial issue back into the public dialogue. Where do you stand? Log on. Vote. Email me or respond online.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
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- Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial