Schools across the state are observing Kansas Anti-Bullying Awareness Week from Oct. 5-11. This year’s theme is “Choose Peace.”
Twenty percent of students ages 12 to 18 have experienced bullying, according to stopbullying.gov, a United States government website. In Kansas, more than one in five students (21.9%) reported they had been bullied on school property, according to the 2019 Kansas Youth Risk Behavior Survey for grades ninth through 12th. The most common places for bullying to take place in schools is in the hallway/stairwell, classroom and cafeteria. About one in six Kansas students (17.2%) said they had been electronically bullied.
The federal government began collecting data on school bullying in 2005, when the prevalence of bullying was about 28%, according to pacer.org.
School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%, according the U.S. Department of Education.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson in March 2019 created the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying to research and identify bullying trends, data and prevention measures occurring across Kansas in an effort to better understand how to combat the complex issue. The group had listening tours across Kansas where members of the public were welcome to shared their thoughts and ideas on bullying. Information from the listening tours was compiled and used to develop recommendations to present to the Kansas State Board of Education.
• Better support and direction for school districts.
• Continue to develop the state’s focus on social-emotional and character development education to
address school bullying.
• Examine the current state law and determine if it requires reconsideration.
• Encourage local policies and plans to focus on relationships, school climate and culture, and the mental health
impact of bullying in schools.
• Collect better data on school bullying and measures for assessing program effectiveness.
• Address cyberbullying.
• Training, professional development and teacher preparation.
In January 2020, the State Board adopted the task force’s recommendations and enlisted the Kansas School Mental Health Advisory Council to draft a guidance document on the recommendations. The work is in progress and should be completed by the end of this year.
For more information about Kansas Anti-Bullying Week or for resources to help stop bullying, visit https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Career-Standards-and-Assessment-Services/Content-Area-M-Z/School-Counseling/School-Counseling-Resources/Anti-Bullying-Awareness.
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