School officials remind parents of anti-bullying resources - FOX Carolina 21

School officials remind parents of anti-bullying resources

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Dr. Sonia Leverette said anti-bullying measures are being implemented by educating teachers and students about how to report and investigate incidents (FOX Carolina) Dr. Sonia Leverette said anti-bullying measures are being implemented by educating teachers and students about how to report and investigate incidents (FOX Carolina)
School districts around the Upstate have several ways for students to anonymously report bullying (FOX Carolina) School districts around the Upstate have several ways for students to anonymously report bullying (FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

As the new school year approaches, officials in several Upstate school district's say keeping students safe from bullies is a top priority. 

"We have seen an influx in situations with cyberbullying," said Dr. Sonia Leverette, assistant superintendent for Student Services for Spartanburg District 7. "If [bullying] happens at school or causes a disruption at school, then it's the school's problem."

Leverette said teachers and administrators recently learned not only how to report bullying, but also how to investigate it.

"Our administrators now know down to the nitty gritty how to question students," said Leverette. "Questions to ask, questions not to ask so that they can be more confident and they have a clearer guide how to get information out of students."

The new skill set for teachers comes as schools across the Upstate and across America beef up anti-bullying measures; some schools have purchased applications from outside developers for administrators and students to use in concert with one another. One app, called "The Bully Box," was created by an Indiana teen after his experience being bullied. 

"I struggled with being bullied in the 8th grade," app creator Brandon Boynton told our sister station WSHM. "Since then, I have had a real passion for anti-bullying and I wanted to try and make a difference."

The app allows students to report bullying anonymously to school administrators.

Information security officer Rick Floyd with Greenville County Schools said while his district hasn't purchased apps from outside developers, there is a way for parents and students to report bullying on the district's own website. Most Upstate school districts have a parent or student portal where bullying and other problems can be reported. 

Floyd said each case is investigated.

"It's handled every single time because we know how serious it can get," Floyd said. 

Other measures are also taken to ensure bullying stops or is decreased, said Leverette, who said Spartanburg 7 has a "no-contact contract" that bullies must sign if they are found to be harrassing other students. The student must agree to avoid contact and stay away from the victim. Violation of the contract can result in disciplinary action. 

Starting this school year, students on the high school level in Spartanburg 7 will be able to fill out a questionnaire regarding bullying. 

"It's a ten question survey asking them if they feel safe at school, if they observe something - do they know how to report it," said Leverette. She added the survey will help administrators gauge how educated students are when it comes to bullying, and will highlight areas that need to be reviewed. 

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