Bullying: Is the state doing enough?

Bullying: Is the state doing enough?

CREATED Feb 20, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- If your child were being bullied in class, you'd probably want the school to tell you about it. But depending on where your child goes, that may not happen. Some anti-bullying advocates say too many schools are inconsistent on how they handle bullying and it's a problem they want to fix.

For the past year and a half, the Tucson Police Department's Gang Intervention Unit has focused on one of the biggest issues facing schools today -- bullying. But officers say how the schools handle bullying differs from district to district and school to school.

Officer Delia Marquez said, "We've talked to kids that said they've had incidences where the school may not have even called home to let the parents know about it. The kids haven't told the parents about it as well. Some schools are really proactive and they'll call law enforcement and just make a report about it --at the very least, even if someone doesn't want to prosecute."

These inconsistencies can be confusing not only to police and parents, but educators as well.

"What we found is that teachers are really calling out for specific things that they can do. One is to understand what bullying is, knowing how to intervene, or prevent bullying," said anti-bullying advocate Ron Barber. He says these specifics should come from the Office of the State Superintedent and it seems it might.

"Recently I was in a meeting with Superintendent (John) Huppenthal. He wanted to know what was going on in different schools. Were there some model programs out there? He was seeking a better understanding of the issues of bullying,"  said Barber.

Barber is working with international bullying expert Sheri Bauman and 11 schools in TUSD in hopes of searching for solutions that can be applied across the districts. He said, "We'll be meeting with superintendents in various school districts in Southern Arizona to talk about common practices, common policies, and training that we believe will help teachers, administrators, parents and students."