TENNESSEE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT DATA SHOWS EXTENT OF BULLYING IN SCHOOLS

School in Anderson County should be a place for children to grow, learn and flourish socially and academically. Unfortunately, for many children in Tennessee, the presence of a bully in their classroom can ruin their experience at school. Children who are bullied may experience a multitude of mental and physical health issues such as depression and anxiety and decreased academic performance.

The impact bullying can have on children

If not taken care of, the impact of bullying can affect a child well into adulthood or even harm them so much that they take their own lives. For example, according to USA Today, a 12 year old girl who was terrorized by other girls at her school online took her own life by jumping off the roof of a cement factory tower in September of last year.

Two of the girls that had bullied this young girl were charged with felonies that following month after one of the girls admitted to taunting and bullying the girl on a social media site. The county sheriff that made these arrests stated that he was prompted to charge these two girls after one of them reported that she didn't care that the victim of her rude behavior had died.

A prominent problem in the state's school system

Unfortunately, cases of bullying similar to the one of this young girl that committed suicide are not rare. A recent report done by the Tennessee Department of Education discovered that:

  • Knox County, one of the state's largest school systems, had 182 complaints of bullying.
  • Lenoir City, although a much smaller school system, had over 150 bullying reports.
  • Anderson County had 129 reported cases and 53 confirmed cases.
  • Loudon County had 12 reports of bullying, five of which were confirmed cases.

During the 2012-2013 school year there were more than 7,500 reported cases of bullying in Tennessee's school system overall. Many of these cases involved gender, race, or a student with a disability. This report was the first one conducted by the Department of Education due to recent anti-bullying legislation passed in the state that makes this report mandatory.

Although the report is supposed to collect the number of bullying cases that happen in the state's school system, it is mainly designed to find out which behaviors contribute to injuries, mental health issues, substance abuse, physical inactivity and premature death among students in the state. Ultimately, the data is supposed to help parents and educators in the state find ways to intervene, stop bullying and make a difference in children's lives.

If your child was the victim of persistent bullying at school that caused them physical or mental harm, contact an attorney in your area that can fight for your child's legal rights.

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