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Just ignore it?CyberbullyingWhen Victims Can't Fight BackBullied to DeathNo Legal RecourseIt Takes a Community




Mean Kids Part Five : Ohio is among the majority of states that have laws against bullying. But it gives schools a lot of leeway.
Since 2007, Ohio has had a law against bullying.  It says schools must report every incident on their websites. But few schools do.  Even when they know about it.  And usually, they don’t.  In this segment of Mean Kids,  WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports on legal approaches to the problem of bullying.  



Reporter
Vivian Goodman

Mean Kids Part Five

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The Ohio Department of Education has provided a model policy that outlines a procedure for schools to investigate and report bullying.

The harassment parameters of Ohio House Bill 276 can be found here and here.

The OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program’s website has a list of state laws against bullying here.

You can also download a PDF map outlining states with bullying laws by clicking here.

A statement released by the Mentor Exempted VIllage School District on Aug. 20, 2010 in response to the Vidovic lawsuit:

 

Mentor Public Schools Statement to the Media August 20, 2010

From Dr. Jacqueline Hoynes, Superintendent of Schools:

Mentor Public Schools learned today that the family of Sladjana Vidovic has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the school district. Sladjana’s suicide in 2008 left us all deeply saddened, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Vidovic family.

Because of legal and privacy concerns, we cannot comment on the specifics of the lawsuit except to say that we will vigorously defend the district against the allegations.

Our district puts the safety and welfare of its students ahead of all else, and over the last five years Mentor Public Schools has continued to increase its focus on combating bullying and harassment at all grade levels, from kindergarten to high school. In 2007, with the assistance of the Crossroads adolescent counseling center, Mentor Schools implemented the Olweus anti-bullying program in all 14 schools. Prior to this, each school had its own anti-bullying program in place. Olweus is an internationally-recognized bullying prevention program that is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This program is helping staff, students and families to better understand bullying and harassment and how to prevent it from occurring and stop it when it does occur.

All Mentor Schools staff – teachers, coaches, bus drivers, and other support staff – have been and continue to be trained to recognize problem situations and intervene to help students who may be the victims of bullying and harassment. Students are also learning the "bystander approach," which empowers students to speak up for their classmates if and when a problem arises.

Staff and students at Mentor High School are also working with the Lake County Suicide Prevention Coalition to ensure that students can recognize the warning signs for a student who may be at risk of suicide and tell an adult immediately. Named GAHTAH (Give A Hand, Take A Hand), the program trains high school students who present dramatic skits to their peers during study halls to illustrate the red flags of depression and suicide risk. Also at the high school, we are in the process of creating a new program to help students dealing with mental health issues to have extra support in a special classroom with a dedicated social worker. The program is specifically designed to help students who have undergone treatment for mental or emotional health issues transition back to the classroom.

Our school district is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment for all students, and we will continue to work with staff, students and parents to prevent and stop bullying in our schools.

 

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