By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
A view of the new online bullying database.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
The Iowa Department of Education has a better way to track bullying across the state. They hope being able to see incidents more clearly will help stomp out the problem more effectively.
In the past, a 2007 Iowa law had schools report bullying annually, under just four labels. Now, schools will report incidents into an online database as they happen, and categorize them into one or more of 17 student traits. Things like: sexual orientation, gender identity, and political beliefs.
"We believe we'll generate more accurate detail data, and that school districts will be able to enter information as it happens," said Iowa Department of Education Spokeswoman Staci Hupp.
Hupp says the information won't just benefit the state, but individual schools too.
"They'll be able to identify patters and trends on their own, in terms of bullying and harassment," said Hupp.
Like where most of their bullying takes place, in or out of school. Plus they can ID individual bullies.
Sioux City Schools have been collecting bullying data like this for years, in a system called "Pinnacle." They'll now use the database to submit that information to the state.
Sioux City Officials say while they might not learn any new information locally, they hope the database will encourage state leaders to help fight bullying in general.
"We're doing everything we can to create a safe school climate. We try to improve that climate, so it would be nice to find some money to help us do that. It'd be great," said Director of Pupil Services and Equity at Sioux City Schools, Marilyn Charging.
The new database went online Friday. Sioux City Schools say they still have some training to do before they begin reporting incidents with it.
If you'd like to know more about their policy on bullying, check out this link.
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