Schools ask parents to help stop bullying

By Emily Luxen

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Officials at area school districts claim bullying is becoming an increasing concern, and they are asking students and parents to help them crack down on the problem.

A letter went to parents of Rocky Ridge Elementary School in Hoover. It reminds them if their child bullies another student, they will be suspended.

Hoover schools spokesperson Jason Gaston said the Elementary School Handbook defines bullying as any behavior that causes emotional harm like teasing, taunting and hitting. The letter is just the most recent way the district is trying to prevent the problem.

"When you see these national cases, it is a stark reminder of what could happen here," said Gaston. "So often we see things and learn from them. Our district takes this situation very seriously."

The Shelby County School Board recently passed a district-wide Anti-Harrassment Policy. Public Relations Supervisor Cindy Warner said it will help administrators address and investigate bullying incidents better.

"Part of the policy is going to be that parents and students will have an official form to fill out when they report an incident," said Warner, "It should help us track reported incidents of bullying, and know when the reports were first made."

Parents said they are aware of the problem, and they worry about even their young kids being bullied at school. They said it is a complicated problem to solve, but they appreciate what school district officials are doing.

"It's one step. I don't know it will go as far as it needs to go, but it is a good start," said parent Angie Martin.

"Now there are emails, telephone calls, and conferences between the children involved," said grandparent Cheryl Coletta. "Hopefully, this will help situations get resolved quickly."

The Student Harrassment Prevention Act signed into law by Governor Bob Riley will require all school boards across the state to adopt policies to prevent bullying by July 1.

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