27 Investigates

How are local schools doing when it comes to bullying?

Not all of the districts are in compliance when it comes to bullying reports

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) - Nearly every school district in the state has a program in place to prevent bullying. Every year, those program administrators look for new ways to solve the problem. But not every district is in compliance with reporting those incidents.

Each district must submit a report about those efforts to address bullying and many schools are seeing those number decrease.

State law requires schools post the numbers of bullying reports they get online. However, WKBN discovered that not all schools are in compliance.

Argia Allaby said her daughter, Joann, has been bullied for years.

"She's had problems since we moved here. We've been in Boardman for about five years."

Allaby didn't know the school is required to report bullying to the public or if her daughter's case is included in those numbers.

"They're not giving me other information other than, 'I'll talk to the little girl that's doing it,' or whatever the case may be," Allaby said.

Boardman Schools do report bullying statistics, but those numbers have changed over the years.

"Early reporting. We first started reporting any incident of harassment or student disagreement, and that's not the definition of bullying," Superintendent Tim Saxton said.

The district also has several programs in place to keep bullying at a minimum.

"We have a common philosophy that we break down for our kids," said Boardman Center Intermediate School Principal Randy Ebie. "Looking for the best in others, choosing positive role models, treating others in the way you want to be treated."

Boardman is one of the few schools in the area that displays bullying statistics in an easy-to-find location. Several don't have the information at all.

Until recently, Youngstown City Schools did not report bullying on its website.

"We are putting them on now but prior to the last couple of weeks, we didn't," said district spokesperson Denise Dick. "We have this year's on so far."

In Youngstown, there is more of a focus on prevention than ever before.

“Since last year, we’ve changed the bullying form. We have culture and climate teams, so things are a lot different now,” Dick said.

As far as Allaby is concerned, she said she's not sure that knowing bullying statistics would help. She said her daughter sometimes dreads what will happen on the bus or in class.

"I tend to make her go to school and that sounds bad because you shouldn't make your kid, but I make her and this time of year, she just gives up."

More than half of the 42 local school districts had out-of-date records or no bullying reports online at all:

Up-to-date records: 

*While the information was online for the above districts, on some of the district's websites, it was hard to find and navigate.

Out-of-date records:

No summary report:

These details are as of April 27, 2018.

Several schools with missing information were contacted and the superintendents said it was a simple mistake. For example, Niles Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen said the information was accidentally dropped when the district redid its website. Niles' bullying information is now online.

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