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Addressing bullying in schools



Jonesboro, Arkansas – Children may experience conflicted emotions when they return to school. While some people are eager to get back to school, others may experience anxiety—especially if bullies are there.

The Arkansas Department of Education reported 3,634 bullying incidences during the previous school year, 3,531 the year before that, and 1,703 during the 2020–21 academic year.

Bullying may rapidly turn into a nightmare for both parents and kids.

Holly Stinnett’s nightmare began when she was a middle school student.

“They started getting mean with words. Like calling me ugly and ‘You’re not skinny enough,’” Stinnett said.

Bullies plagued her the entire time she was in high school, up to her graduation in 2020. There was only so much that could be done, she noted, even though school administrators could offer some assistance.

“The person would still come back and do it, and it would kind of somewhat make situations worse,” Stinnett said. “It’s why I got to the point where I just basically gave up on saying anything.”

She wasn’t the first person to simply give up.

57% of children don’t discuss the bullying they experience, according to Judy French of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

“It breaks my heart to see that they don’t tell because they don’t trust what we’ll do with that information,” French said.

In Arkansas, school boards are required to implement anti-bullying policies, review anti-bullying policies annually, offer training on reporting and looking into bullying, and designate a district position of authority to handle reporting, looking into, and responding to bullying events.

According to Taylor Thomas, a clinical therapist with a license who worked for more than ten years in school-based services, bullying among children has increased recently.

“With the increase in technology advancement, and everyone having access to phones, that has really been a huge issue because cyberbullying has become one of the main ways children are bullied,” Thomas said.

Technology-based bullying makes it more difficult for schools to combat the problem. According to Thomas, bullying will continue after the students return home since they still have access to social media, little downtime, and access to social media.

Lack of focus, a change in behavior, a decrease in self-worth, and aversion to social situations are some of the behavioral changes that educators and students need to watch out for.

The first place to go if you learn that your child is being bullied is to talk to the school. Although the district will assist in providing resources for your child, you still need to look for other assistance.

“It’s pretty imperative to get them in to see someone who is trained in EMDR or trauma-focused therapy that is a seasoned therapist and knows how to really help and deal with these situations,” Thomas said.

Keep a watchful eye on your child’s social media accounts, especially Snapchat, when it comes to cyberbullying.

According to Thomas, parents may set up apps that closely monitor app usage, and they can even prohibit certain types of information.

Holly, who has personally been the victim of bullying, believes that more adults in the community ought to be on the alert and offer assistance when they can.

“Bullying can lead to a lot of things. It’s something you don’t want to lose someone over because they take it too far,” Stinnett said.

You can visit PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center,, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for bullying resources.


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