INDIANAPOLIS -- A bill prompted by a Call 6 Investigation into bullying in Indiana schools has passed both the Indiana House and Senate and will now head to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Call 6 Investigates' Kara Kenney and Jordan Fischer found schools misreporting how often students are bullied, even though they are required by law to report the information.
In one year alone, Call 6 found Indianapolis Public Schools misreported its bullying numbers by more than 500 percent.
Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) authored House Bill 1356 after Call 6 Investigates uncovered nearly 60 percent of Indiana schools, including schools with large student populations, reported zero bullying incidents over an entire school year.
House Bill 1356 aims to improve how schools report bullying incidents to the state.
The legislation passed the Indiana Senate with a 49-0 vote and the Indiana House with an 87-3 vote, and now awaits a signature from Governor Eric Holcomb.
The Marion County Commission on Youth, the Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network and the Indiana State Teachers Association all testified in support of House Bill 1356, saying parents have a right to know how often students are being bullied.
If signed into law, it would require the Indiana Department of Education to send an annual email or letter by June 1 to school corporations reminding them of the bullying reporting law.
It would allow the Indiana Department of Education to conduct audits of school corporations to make sure they’re following the law, and post any discrepancies on the state’s web site.
The bill would also require IDOE to conduct a statewide survey on improving bullying.
It would request the following information in electronic format:
- Situations that may prevent a school corporation from accurately reporting
- Recommendations to improve accuracy or efficiency of bullying reporting
- Resources that would help to accurately report bullying incidents
- Resources that would help to efficiently report bullying incidents
- Any information to improve the accuracy of bullying
The Indiana Department of Education would report the survey’s findings by Nov. 1, 2018.
Currently, schools submit their data to the Indiana Department of Education, yet the agency does not systematically review each school’s bullying numbers.
By July of every year, Indiana schools are required by law to report bullying incidents to the Indiana Department of Education including physical, verbal, social and electronic bullying.
There is no penalty for reporting bullying incidents, and there’s no penalty for failing to accurately report bullying.
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