Danville mayor concerned about bullying in the city

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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Alonzo Jones has been the mayor of Danville for just over a year. In that time he said he has been asked about one problem over and over again: bullying.

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"It's like a hush, hush taboo. We don't talk about it and it will go away. Well it don't go away, it escalates," said one Cedar Terrace resident during a Friday "Get in the Know" meeting.

Jones attended the meeting, listening to residents before letting them know what he and other city leaders are working on.

"We have to do more when it comes to bullying in our city," said Jones.

Jones recently spoke with the city's attorney, the city manager, and state lawmakers about what can be done. Many believe, though, it starts with local school systems.

"We have to acknowledge that it happens and I think it's an unpleasant topic, its not something anyone wants to acknowledge, it happens and the hard part of it is to what extent," said Superintendent of Danville Public Schools Stanley Jones.

The numbers Danville Public Schools currently have are relatively low when it comes to reported incidents. For the past three years combined, there have been 65 cases. The cases can range from something physical to something that happens online.

"As students get older, we don't spend as much time talking about it," said Jones.

This year, however, it will be talked about even more: from posters to reintroducing the Stop it App, an anonymous reporting platform.

But it doesn't stop locally. In the General Assembly's July special session, Senator Bill Stanley introduced Senate Bill 4026.

The bill asks social media providers to communicate threats of violence to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the commonwealth.

Thanks something Jones hopes will happen much more in Danville.

"Okay, city, we've got to more, because people are tired of it, they're getting frustrated, and there's a saying that the bullies will go away? They're not going anywhere," said Jones.

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