Fri. Nov 15th, 2019

Bullying: How Evanston School Districts Tackle The Issue

Bullying: How Evanston School Districts Tackle The Issue

EVANSTON, IL — As part of its National Bullying Prevention Month coverage, Patch contacted administrators of dozens of public school districts in Chicago area suburbs to see how they handle bullying in their communities. Across the country, bullying is a problem that affects more than one in five students. While may boil it down to the idea that “kids will be kids,” studies show that students who are bullied are at increased risk for anxiety, depression, poor self-image, mental health and behavior problems and poor school adjustment.

a person sitting on the floor: Patch asked Evanston school districts how they respond to and report incidents of bullying.© Shutterstock
Patch asked Evanston school districts how they respond to and report incidents of bullying.

Evanston Patch posed a series of questions earlier this month to administrators in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School District 202 about bullying policies, practices and statistics in their districts. Both districts responded, and their answers are provided below.

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District 65

  • What is the district’s policy with regard to bullying and cyberbullying?

The district’s policy on bullying can be found here.

  • What is the discipline process for students who bully others?

The district’s student behavior policy can be found here.

  • How many reported incidents of bullying does the district have this year/last year/by grade level?

During the 2018-19 school year there were a total of 50 reported incidents of bullying in the following grades:

Grade # Incidents
K 1
1 3
2 8
3 5
4 12
6 10
7 4
8 4

So far, this school year there have been 6 reported cases of bullying in the following grades:

Grade # Incidents
K 1
1 2
2 0
3 0
4 0
6 2
7 1
8 4
  • What constitutes a reportable bullying incident? How does the district define bullying? (In other words, when does it rise to the level of being reportable?)

The definition of bullying is defined in our policy.

  • What measures are the district taking to be proactive about bullying?

District 65 utilizes multiple measures to proactively address bullying including extensive and intentional work around creating an inclusive community of learners. Restorative Practices are implemented districtwide and each classroom engages in community circles to help foster relationships, trust and respect for all. Additionally, all students in our K-5 buildings engage in Second Step anti-bullying lessons and activities.

  • What is the district doing to help students who have been the victim of bullying?

Each situation of bullying is considered carefully and a personalized plan to ensure the student’s safety is developed. Restorative measures are implemented to repair the harm that was caused and additional safety precautions and supports are put in place as needed.

  • Some schools use apps — Ok2Say, STOPIt, BullyTag, etc. — or some other system that allows students to anonymously report bullying. Does your district do this? What kind of volume are schools seeing? Has that increased/decreased?

District 65 has an Anonymous Reporting Hotline that is monitored regularly. However, it is not used very frequently and we have not seen an increase in individuals reporting through the hotline. Most alleged cases of bullying are reported directly to educators and/or building administrators.

ETHS District 202

District 202 administrators responded to the questions above with copies of seven board policies — Harassment of Students Prohibited, Prevention of and Response to Bullying, Intimidation, and Harassment, Teen Dating Violence Prohibited, Student Behavior, Conduct Code for Participants in Extracurricular Activities, Suicide and Depression Awareness and Prevention, Restrictions on Publications; High Schools.

The district also provided its Administrative Procedures regarding the Support of Students and Staff who are Transgender and reports on student discipline and suspension presented to the school board in the past two years — the 2017-18 memo, presentation and the 2018-19 memo and presentation.

The data in the latest memo shows 264 incidents leading to disciplinary actions in the the 2018-19 school year were classified as “harassment/bullying,” making up 5 percent of all such actions last year. In the 2017-28 school year, there were 232, down from 416 disciplinary actions classified that way in 2016-17.

a screenshot of a cell phone: . Number of Discipline Actions by Type and Discipline Incident for the 2018-19 School Year (ETHS District 202)© Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media
. Number of Discipline Actions by Type and Discipline Incident for the 2018-19 School Year (ETHS District 202)
a hand holding a black keyboard: No Bully/Patch News Partner© Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media
No Bully/Patch News Partner

The Menace Of Bullies: Patch Advocacy Reporting Project

As part of a national reporting project, Patch has been looking at society’s roles and responsibilities in bullying and a child’s unthinkable decision to end their own life in hopes we might offer solutions that save lives.

Bullying In Evanston Schools: Share Your Stories With Patch »

Do you have a story to tell? Are you concerned about how your local schools handle bullies and their victims? Email us at bullies@patch.com or share your views in the comments.

Selected Stories From The Project

Patch staff contributed.

Published at Fri, 18 Oct 2019 19:40:57 +0000

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