Bullying statistics are hard to come by. That’s because when HISD tells the state what happens on-campus, there is no separate entry in the state database for bullying.
Cory Craft manages counseling services for HISD. He says the district has asked the state to modify its system so all districts have one place to report every instance of bullying.
“But, until that happens, we are creating our own system that will be fully operational next year, to make sure we’re documenting all instances and the reasons behind them.”
Craft says younger children are more susceptible to physical bullying — where one student uses a size advantage to push other kids around. Middle and high schoolers are more likely to encounter cyber-bullying.
“A lot of times, that stuff happens off campus, but they bring it on campus, by the sheer nature of where they go to school. So we tell our teachers and administrators to keep an eye out for that, and to immediately put a stop to it when they see it happening.”
HISD says it has trained the adults who work at schools on how to take a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. The district is also trying to get the message to kids, with activities all week designed to promote unity and tolerance for each other’s differences. Officials say they’ll be able to get a better idea what works, and what doesn’t, as they develop new systems to track bullying.