New Report On Bullying in Tennessee Schools Confirms 5,478 Cases

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A new report on the number of bullying cases in Tennessee’s public schools was released by the state’s Department of Education Thursday showing there were 7,555 cases reported during the 2012-13 school year.  According to the data submitted to the state’s Department of Education by school officials statewide 5,478, or 72.51 percent, of bullying reports submitted were confirmed after investigation.  

In Hamilton County, there were 345 bullying cases reported in 2012-2013, 255 bullying cases indicated after an investigation, 5 bullying cases involving race, color of national origin, 85 bullying cases involving sex or gender discrimination, 4 cases involving disability, 7 bulling cases involving the use of electronic technology, and no cases still pending.

The report was required under anti-bullying legislation which passed the General Assembly in 2012 sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Representative Charles Curtiss (D-Sparta).  Of those bullying cases reported, 321 were based on race, color or national origin, 695 concerned sex or gender-based discrimination and 168 involved a student’s disability. 

“The numbers in this report are very alarming,” said Senator Ketron.  “Besides the obvious emotional harm bullying does to a student personally, it also hampers the kind of classroom atmosphere that promotes learning.  This is a systemic problem that we need to address not only in our schools, but in our homes, churches, community organizations, on the ball field and elsewhere.”

“This is so sad,” added Representative Curtiss.  “I am very pleased that this information is now coming forward so we can do something about it.”

According to the report 564, or 7.47 percent, of the bullying cases reported to the Department of Education were lodged via electronic technology. The legislation sponsored by Ketron and Curtiss also strengthened Tennessee’s law against bullying and cyberbullying through the use of electronic devices.  In addition, it required each Local Education Agency (LEA), at the beginning of the school year, to provide teachers and school counselors with a copy of the school’s bullying policy and its implementation process, information on prevention and strategies to address bullying and harassment when it happens, as well as relevant training on the issue. 

“Based on the information available to the Tennessee Department of Education, each local education agency (LEA) in Tennessee satisfied the requirements of the state bullying and harassment laws and submitted bullying compliance information,” the report said. 

“We are pleased that the report shows our local boards are now providing the information and training to help prevent bullying,” said Rep. Curtiss.  “We hope that we will see improvement that will be reflected by statistics in the next report as a result of these efforts.”

October is National Bullying Prevention Month.


East Ridge High School Hosts Heritage Day Celebration

East Ridge High School (ERHS) presented a school-wide project, “Honoring Our Heritage” on Friday.   East Ridge High School has a diverse student population, with 20 foreign countries represented. Organizers said, " Because some of our students came to ERHS from a foreign country unable to speak English, we wanted to create a project to solidify us as a student body.  ... (click for more)

Lee University Announces Summer Camp Opportunities

Lee University is home to a wide variety of summer camps hosted by Lee personnel in which community youth can participate.  Each Lee camp is handled separately by individual directors. Specific information for each camp is found below. Registration deadlines vary, but some are quickly approaching. Please contact camp organizers for specific information about camp costs and ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke To Give State Of The City Address Monday Night

Citizens across the community are invited to attend Mayor Andy Berke’s second annual State of the City address, which will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the ballroom of the Chattanoogan Hotel. The event is free and open to the public. “The State of the City is an important time to celebrate our accomplishments, discuss our challenges and chart a new course together,” said Mayor ... (click for more)

Anonymous Facebook Posters Pose Possibility Of Signal Schools Separating From Hamilton County School System

"Should Signal Mountain Schools separate from the Hamilton County School System?"   That’s the question posted on a Facebook page titled, simply, Signal Mountain Independent School District.   The creators of the page do not identify themselves. “(W)e certainly don’t want our kids dragged into the issue or targeted for special treatment by any ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The P.S. To A Sad Story

Back in the days when we were determined that the Chattanooga News-Free Press would have the best sports section in the country, I was traveling a whole lot. For example, back then I would be leaving today or tomorrow for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, this after hardly recovering from a week spent at The Masters. And, as it happens with those who are constantly in search for tomorrow’s ... (click for more)