State Releases Bully Report

(Memphis) The State has released the numbers on how many kids are bullied every year in Tennessee schools.

Officials say more than 7,000 children reported being bullied in 2012.

The State Department of Education compiled this “bully data” because legislation called for it. Now people want to see laws passed to help solve the problem.

Ask any kid and they know the problem exists but the State of Tennessee wanted to know how bad bullying really was.

After studying the issue, the Department of Education says 7,555 students reported being bullied in Tennessee in 2012, with 72 percent of the cases confirmed.

It means the problem is widespread and most children are telling the truth when they say they’ve been targets.

“It was interesting to have it documented, but I am not surprised,” said Madeleine Taylor, the executive director of the Memphis branch of the NAACP.

Taylor says her younger members have made it their mission to stand-up against the trend by holding workshops with other students.

“If you are a bystander, you are watching someone being bullied and not doing anything about it. If you are an upstander than you come in and say ‘this is not right’,” said Taylor.

Taylor says they’re trying to change students’ hearts and minds but the numbers also mean legislation is probably necessary.

She’d like to see more accountability from superiors when victims speak-up and tell their story.

“What the laws do is make sure when administrators are advised about this they take some action.”

The newly released numbers show most bullies appear to be targeting victims over sex or gender-based issues, then race, then disability. Many kids bullied say it happened online.

Now that the numbers are out, lawmakers are working on drafting legislation to do something about it. A bill should be introduced this coming January.

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