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Spring ISD rolls out online tool to report bullying

October 4, 2018

Spring ISD is rolling out an online tool for students, parents and staff to report bullying.

The new online tool, launched Oct. 1, also complies with David’s Law, which was passed in 2017 and encourages school districts to establish policies to intervene if harassment occurs in person or online.

“We’re really encouraging anybody that wants to report. I think for a lot of people it’s that you see something or you hear something and you think, ‘Well, I don’t know if this is bullying or not.’ So, we’re really encouraging people to report it and to use the tools,” said chief communications officer Tiffany Dunne-Oldfield.

Students, parents and staff can report an incident online either anonymously or provide contact information.

Once a report is made, school administrators look into the matter and inform the parents of the potential victim who may be bullied within 72 hours, Dunne-Oldfield said.

“Fill out the form and let us look into the matter. We want to be able to look at it and be able to investigate it,” she said.

Even if reported anonymously, the form allows the district to communicate with the person reporting the bullying about the status of the investigation.

In northwest Harris County, Tomball ISD also announced it implemented Anonymous Alert to report suspicious or harassing behavior.

After receiving a report, administrators will then investigate and determine if the allegation is credible.

Spring ISD director of mental health and related services Denise Zimmerman said that once a bullying incident is credible and administrators decide to loop in a counselor, meeting with the students and parents may be the next step.

“There’s really not a set protocol, (or) flowchart showing what the next step would be because it all depends on the investigation,” she said.

If an investigation does show that bullying has occurred, then administrators can determine if a counselor or police officer would need to get involved.

A counselor would determine if a student’s bullying behavior is based on being bullied as well.

Students who bully others may receive counseling to determine the causes of behavior.

“It depends on what is needed. If a child has a history of bullying behaviors and if they are involved, is this child continuously a target? A lot of times, a child who demonstrates bullying behaviors is bullying because they are having the same behaviors directed toward them. That’s part of where the counseling comes in,” Zimmerman said.

Spring ISD students, parents and staff can report bullying at www.spring.org/stopbullying.

mayra.cruz@chron.com

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