Hazing and Bullying

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Jackson County school officials are trying to make sure schools are a place for education, not intimidation.

School Board members are considering some policy changes regarding bullying and hazing. The local action comes at the same time a new state law against hazing goes into effect.

It may not be a widespread problem; just talk to students on any Jackson County school campus and you'll quickly find that bullying and hazing are alive and well.

Bryan Myers, a MHS sophomore, says, “I think the hazing law needs to be in effect. Because sometimes kids get bullied around and sometimes get hurt."

Corey Bates, a MHA freshman, says, “Some kids need help because they don't like to stick up for themselves, so I just think it expresses and lets people know if you do it it's going to be wrong."

Florida's school districts are getting some help from the state. The Chad Meredith Bill, an anti-hazing measure passed by the Legislature this spring, becomes law on July 1.

Jackson County educators say they want students to know they're serious about the problem by adding the bill’s language into the county's student code of conduct.

Danny Sims, School Board Superintendent, says, “By putting this in our student code of conduct, it might outline the steps of discipline just like fighting or being tardy, or anything else."

Sims says Jackson County doesn't have any major issues involving bullying, and the change to the student code of conduct will keep it that way.

"Any time you can discuss problems, you can prevent problems, and that's the purpose of the student code of conduct to start with, to create that dialog so parents and teachers and principals and students know what's expected.”

The policy change is on the agenda for Tuesday's School Board meeting, which begins at 4:00.

Experts say almost 30 percent of teens in the U.S. have been in involved in a form of bullying either as the bully, the victim, or both.

Studies show that bullying happens more frequently among teenage boys than girls.