Schools take precautions in bullying
A decade ago bullies were considered a mild problem in most school systems.
Today, bullying is considered to be a problem that leads to bigger problems, like school violence.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 750,000 young people, ages 10 to 24, were treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained due to violence in 2004, and 5,570 young people, ages 10 to 24, were killed in 2003 from violence stemming from schools.
Statistics like these show that bullying, which experts say can lead to school violence, is no longer a silent matter.
Both Franklin County School and Russellville City School systems are taking steps to prevent bullying in their hallways and classrooms.
Russellville Middle School Assistant Principal Karen Thorn said the school hasn't seen a problem with bullying on the premises.
She attributes that to the presence of law enforcement on campus, the close monitoring of students and character education.
"We have character education everyday," Thorn said. "Mr. Hammock goes over a good character trait everyday, and the teachers reinforce that in the classroom."
Thorn said the staff works hard to teach students about proper behavior in life so that they can grow to be productive citizens.
"Tolerance is a good skill for life," she said.
While theschool is not a picture of perfection, and sometimes problems may arise on occasion, Thorn said they are always addressed quickly
"If there is a problem, it is addressed immediately and that's the end of it," Thorn said.
In addition to character education, the halls are continually monitored before and after school and between classes.
"All our teachers stand outside their doors between classes, and our resource officer monitors the crosswalks," Thorn said. "We take every measure to ensure that our students are safe."
Red Bay Principal Kenny Sparks said bullying has always been a problem for all school systems, but the method of bullying is ever-changing.
"We used to worry about passing notes or physical fights in the halls," Sparks said. "Today, cyber-bullying is becoming a big thing."
Cyber-bullying, making threats or sending harrasing remarks via email or social networking sites, is used because it's unseen by administrators and hard to detect.
Sparks noted a few instances of bullying at Red Bay, but said that the problems are addressed as soon as they are reported.
"We monitor the areas where bullying takes place," he said. "Restrooms, the gym, hallways and parking lots are all monitored closely. Students aren't going to do anything in the classroom with a teacher there. They are going to wait until they can get the other student alone."
Franklin County DARE Officer Mike Franklin also addresses bullying in the classroom to help students understand what to do if they become a victim. He also tries to deter prospective bullies before they start.
"There's always, on some level, bullying going on," Franklin said. "We teach the students how it feels to be bullied, and what to do should they become a victim of a bully."
Franklin also noted cyber-bullying as a growing problem problem, which is difficult to combat because it doesn't have to take place on school property. Statistics show that 30 percent of students in grades six through 10 were involved in bullying as a bully, a target or both, according to the CDC.