Porter: We need to understand what is preventing school districts from reporting accurate bullying data

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State Rep. Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis) is working to ensure school districts across Indiana are accurately reporting instances of bullying in schools.

Last week, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released the 2018 – 19 annual bullying report. The data from the report shows that the number of school bullying cases being reported are down overall – half of Indiana schools reported zero instances of bullying.

“The lack of reporting on this issue is concerning because we believe that bullying is happening at higher rates in schools across Indiana,” said Porter.

“For whatever reason, school corporations are not reporting instances of bullying to the degree that students and parents have said they’re happening,” he continued.

“We need to make sure we are getting to the root the issue here and better understand what is preventing school corporations from reporting certain instances of bullying.”

In 2018, Porter had legislation signed into law for the state to get better information about bullying in schools. It says IDOE needs to send an annual reminder to schools letting them know it’s still required to submit data around bullying instances, and that the department can audit those reports. It also requires the department to share with lawmakers the results of a survey from the department on schools’ efforts to improve bullying reporting.

“I believe we saw 100 percent participation from school corporations reporting bullying data in this most recent report because of my legislation that became law in 2018,” said Porter.

“While this law also allows for audits of the reports from school corporations, it’s clear we need to work together to understand what is preventing school corporations from reporting certain instances of bullying in their schools.”  

“It’s important that these numbers are as accurate as possible so that we can provide the appropriate resources to teachers, parents, and students to effectively prevent bullying in schools across the state,” he concluded.

According to the 2018-2019 bullying report from IDOE, of the 5,257 bullying incidents, 1,532 were verbal, 2,105 were physical, 515 social/relational, 505 written/electronic, and 600 bullying incidents that were a combination of categories.

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