Illinois bill creates standards for addressing bullying - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Illinois bill creates standards for addressing bullying

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CAMP POINT, Ill. (WGEM) - Bullying continues to be a problem in schools and a bill on the governor's desk aims to help schools develop strategies.

The bill would require schools to outline procedures for reporting a bully that also includes anonymous reporting. It also would require schools to develop procedures for investigating and addressing bullying at schools.

Central Junior High Principal Erica Smith said students don't always realize the impact of bullying.

"I think they need to be aware of the reality of some of the victims and the consequences and how they have dealt with bullying," Smith said. "That's one thing we try to do is educate the students not only about not bullying and why you shouldn't, but what happens sometimes to those who do get bullied."

Smith said in today's society there are many different outlets for bullying, making it harder on schools to try and monitor the behavior. Smith says when an incident of bullying comes up they do an investigation currently that includes talking with teachers about student behavior. She says many times the teacher may not have noticed something wrong about an incident, but when looking at the bigger picture, it can be linked to bullying.

Smith said one measure she likes about the bill is the reporting of bully cases back to the state.

"I think anytime you can gather some more data just to try to make heads or tails of things that's a good thing as long as the right kind of data is gathered and used appropriately," Smith said.

Smith said that often times she feels the bullies are ones who have been picked on before and find someone they can retaliate down on causing a chain reaction. Smith said punishment for a child who is bullying depends on the severity of the issue. It could be just a talk with the student all the way up to expulsion. Smith said, however, the important aspect isn't how the student should be punished, it's trying to figure out why the student did it in the first place.
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