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Safe Schools Training Aims to Make Bully Reporting More Uniform

The Pasco School district reported only 11 incidents of bullying to the state in 2011.

Pasco County administrators attended a Florida Department of Education training session Monday that will help the district better track bullying incidents in the future.

The district, which has 89 schools and about 67,000 students,

Districts vary in how and what they report, Pasco Schools spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said. Distinguishing between a bullying precursor behavior and bullying can cause some discrepancies, she said.

In Pasco, if an incident is considered “taunting or teasing,” an intervention is made at the school level.  If the intervention doesn’t work, “then it goes to the state as bullying,” Romagnoli said.

Monday’s inservice, which was provided to all districts by the DOE’s Office of Safe Schools, was mandatory for all Pasco school-based and Student Services administrators, supervisor of student services Molly Blair said.

A portion of the training addressed the School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR) system, which schools use to report crime and serious code of conduct violations such as bullying and harassment when they occur at school or school-sponsored activities, Blair said.

Effective tracking of SESIR data was slated to be addressed at the training, Blair said.

The goal of the training provided by the state is to make reporting more uniform across all districts, Romagnoli said.

The training also covered effective ways for schools to prevent, identify and respond to bullying, Blair said.

Working with parents, students and other stakeholders is crucial to addressing issues when they arise, Romagnoli said. Parents and students should report incidents to administrators, because if a teacher or other adult on campus does not observe a behavior, it may go unchecked, she said. 

A phone call to the school can make all the difference in providing the information needed to intervene.  “It’s a partnership,” she said.

The district needs parents and other stakeholders to get involved, Romagnoli said. Some things, such as social media and cyberbullying, are outside of their jurisdiction, which is why parents need to be aware of what’s going on online and off campus. Letting the school know there’s a problem off school grounds can help teachers and administrators keep an eye out on the classroom, so that "hopefully things don’t become a pattern,” she said.

Teachers, parents and administrators working together to identify problems and come up with solutions is the only way to address problems when they arise, she said.

“We want all of our students to have a safe and happy childhood,” Romagnoli said.

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