Student bullying has, in some cases, become worse with the move to online learning during COVID-19--here's how to keep tabs on it

Even a pandemic won’t stop bad student behavior–and in many cases, it inflames behaviors such as bullying.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Laura Lockhart, director of student services of Keller Independent School District in Texas talks about how the district digitally updated their bullying reporting process to keep students safe and meet federal reporting regulations.

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eSN: What led your district to take the process digital?

LL: We were actually cited by the office of civil rights. We had a complaint that we did not handle a bullying situation or outcry effectively. And so because of that, we created a focus group task force to dig into what we were missing in regards to managing and responding to outcries.

There’s a specific process that we should have been using and we had not. Some things that are part of this process are time-sensitive. For instance, within three days, the parents of each of the perpetrators and the victim have to be notified and the investigation has to be complete in 10 days. All allegations must be investigated. So those timestamps and frames, that’s where Laserfiche helped us out. We took the whole investigation system and put it on the Laserfiche process. And when I say, we, it was our technology department and Clint Metta, who was the mastermind and the brains behind all of that.

Even a pandemic won’t stop bad student behavior–and in many cases, it inflames bullying.

In this conversation with eSchool News, Laura Lockhart, director of student services of Keller Independent School District in Texas talks about how the district digitally updated their bullying reporting process to keep students safe and meet federal reporting regulations.

eSN: What led your district to take the process digital?

LL: We were actually cited by the office of civil rights. We had a complaint that we did not handle a bullying situation or outcry effectively. And so because of that, we created a focus group task force to dig into what we were missing in regards to managing and responding to outcries.

There’s a specific process that we should have been using and we had not. Some things that are part of this process are time-sensitive. For instance, within three days, the parents of each of the perpetrators and the victim have to be notified and the investigation has to be complete in 10 days. All allegations must be investigated. So those timestamps and frames, that’s where Laserfiche helped us out. We took the whole investigation system and put it on the Laserfiche process. And when I say, we, it was our technology department and Clint Metta, who was the mastermind and the brains behind all of that.

eSN: Walk us through it.

LL: What happens is that an allegation will come in, maybe an allegation from the outside, through our website and it’s entered as a Laserfiche form. It pops up in all of our inboxes. So we know that there’s an allegation that has been made. The principal reviews. They assign it to one of the assistant principals. The assistant principal opens it up, it pre-populates into an investigation, and then they can start working the process. If an allegation has not been touched for five days, we get an alert, because they’ll only have five more days to finish that investigation. If an investigation has not been complete, we’ll get an alert.

So it helps us stay on track as well as work through all the specifics of an investigation. There are a lot of pieces in the state of Texas to make sure that we’re covering and then we also monitor it from the district level. We can also provide feedback

eSN: Have you noticed a change in behavior patterns since the pandemic?

LL: I think one of the differences between pre-pandemic and now is with less children in the school, there is a little less opportunity, but they figure out their way. Cyberbullying seems to be something that we’re having to deal with just a little bit more.

But it’s very different than it was. We used to run around dealing with social posts quite a bit before, and now it’s more of like what’s happening on the chat, and private messages and things that are said in breakout rooms and those sorts of things. But then we’re also dealing with things at the campus level that are in alignment with harassment and people being much more sensitive to social justice issues.

eSN: Talk a little bit about how the dynamics of managing student behavior has changed because of this?

Well, when you can mute somebody, that does help—you know, maybe put someone in the waiting room. I’ve even seen the benefits of online meetings and getting people together. It was crazy at first, but it’s kind of personalized just because there’s a little less distraction. Even with the counseling groups, I can see that there’s some intimacy that it is surprising. I didn’t quite expect that. However, with our students that struggle—either academically, emotionally, or with their home lives—it’s not a safe environment for them.
source: Read More, eSchool News

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