Governor John Kasich is taking a stand against bullying by signing a bill that requires schools to update their policies.
Under the new law, administrators must address harassment and intimidation sent electronically. Student Service Coordinator Kevin Appleman said Zanesville City Schools revised its guidelines back in 2007 to cover cyber bullying.
"This is a tough situation for all school districts," said Appleman. It’s tough to detect it. When we are told about it, which is key, we do something about it."
Zanesville has installed video cameras in the hallways and on school buses to catch bullies before the problems escalate. Appleman said enforcement can be tricky if the acts are committed when the students are not at school, and with the evolution of social media, bullying doesn’t stop when the bell rings.
"I don’t know if the numbers are higher now, because a lot of times they don’t let us know, but it doesn’t help having Facebook and cell phones," said Appleman. "Sometimes they can be good and provide information, but I really can’t tell yet since this is just starting, but if it does become a problem, we’ll take care of it."
When verified acts of bullying require a disciplinary response, students can face in and out-of-school suspension or ultimately expulsion if the incident is serious. Appleman said parents play an enormous role in reporting changes in their child’s behavior, and the schools hold programs throughout the year to educate children about the harmful effects of bullying.