The Washoe County School district is getting proactive in the fight against bullying.
A new school climate survey released at a news conference shows the bullying problem is in our schools, but administrators have a plan to attack it.
"It's about raising the awareness in our community, raising the awareness in our state and raising the awareness in every school in our district." Said Superintendent Heath Morrison.
At the press conference Washoe County School District officials laid out the new plan for ensuring school communities free of bullying saying they will be proactive instead of reactive.
The plan has several intiatives, one of them training for every school district employee on how to identify and respond to bullying situations.
Each incident will require new forms that now will be sent to school police and the counseling department for intervention and follow up.
There are also new counseling services for both bullies and victims.
"We have programs in place for students who report being victimized, so that they have a clear reporting mechanism that they can go to in our schools so they know who to go to, and then it is immediate response.
Also we have programs for those engaging in the bullying."
Even Secret Witness is changing to help law enforcement and school administrators to gather information. Chief of Police Mike Mieras said, "Our secret witness posters say report crimes and all that we now put bullying and cyber-bullying on there, because it's important that the kids feel they can report anything."
And a more aggressive campaign couldn't come at a more critical time.
School climate surveys done at every school show 48 percent of students agree bullying is happening at their schools.
At the middle school level, it's even higher at 56 percent.
The head of school counseling Katherine Loudon says," We are not happy with the data, but it helped get us informed."
Clayton Middle school student Fabian Kovac talked today about the strides his school has made fighting bullying through student projects like an anti-bullying film.
He says students are dedicated to changing their school climates and he's relieved so is the district.
"I feel glad that they are finally taking steps to stop this instead of just putting up posters, posted at school now taking action and this is a serious cause."
All the data was collected at each school individually.
If you are interested in looking at all the statistics at your child's school you can go to the link attached to this report.
The full results from the climate survey are available at http://www.washoecountyschools.org/students/student-climate-survey.