The Montgomery school system is creating an online form to report bullying that will replace paper reports.
The online form is expected to be launched early next year, but families who don’t have home access to the internet will still be able to use the paper form, school system staff said.
School system associate superintendent Jonathan Brice said during a school board meeting this week website developers are finalizing the form now, which will submit information to appropriate staff members who can respond, and compile systemwide data about incidents.
Students and families now must get a paper copy of a reporting form and return it to a school’s main office.
Brice did not elaborate on what details the online form will include. The current form includes space for information about victims, offenders, the date of the bullying incident, where the bullying occurred, why the victim believes the bullying occurred and an area to provide a narrative of the incident.
“Really, community members saying an online form would be easier … is how we were able to get this accomplished,” Brice said.
Last school year, there were 1,312 bullying incidents reported to school officials, with 934 cases confirmed, according to school system data.
About 80 of cases were classified as “serious,” defined as an incident that “leads to the death or serious injury of a person” on school property or conducting school business, “potential or if it causes actual disruption of the planned school day,” according to the school system’s data.
Police were contacted 16 times to investigate the allegations.
The majority of bullying reports were made at elementary middle schools, with 541 reported at the elementary level and 577 at middle schools.
During a community forum hosted by the Montgomery County Council last year, middle school students said they felt their school’s administration didn’t take bullying seriously and many said they, or their friends, have struggled with mental health issues as a result of being bullied.
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