RONOAKE, Va. (WDBJ7) The school year kicks off this year with two new laws geared towards keeping students safer and preventing bullying. The first one requires schools to notify parents is their child is the either the victim or the aggressor. The second requires school counselors to get training in bullying, suicide prevention and mental health disorders, including depression and substance abuse, when they are getting their initial state licenses or renewing one.
Teachers and school leaders have protocol in place to handling aggressive situations between students. "We would like to report it as soon as possible, if a student comes in and says Jane is being bullied , the teacher would then step out break it up go find an administrator," said Alyssa Knapp, High School Teacher.
However with the rise of social media, bullying can happen at any time during the day. "You can still go through the school if you want but you have two options. A school resources officer can still address that even if it is happening at home, if it is effect their well being a school resource officer can address that," said Officer Hodges, Roanoke City Police.
Experts realize it is a community effort to combat the issue. "I think the main thing is continuing to raise consciousness about the harmful effects of bullying its not just a benign thing that all kids have to go through... there is a way to take it on and stand up against bullying and raise awareness that it is not ok, " said Dr. Eric Vance, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.
Vance also says the most important part of combating bullying is awareness. As well as having conversations with children about being a victim, a bystander, or even being the bully.