KPLC special series: The trauma of bullying - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

KPLC special series: The trauma of bullying

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Over the last month, KPLC's Holly Carter has taken an in-depth look into bullying at public schools in Calcasieu Parish.

Many parents say the schools are doing nothing with their bullying complaints.

Report after report, parent after parent, all saying nothing is being done about bullying problems. So, what is the policy for bullying in Calcasieu Parish? What are parents supposed to do?

"The policy is actually asking them to go to the school, because the school is where they handle the first line of lodging a complaint or letting the principals know of an incident that's happened," said Sabra Soileau with CPSB. "It's handled at the school through an investigation."

The principal is solely responsible for conducting an investigation and filling out a form from the Louisiana Department of Education regarding the incident.

"Normally, they will try to figure out what has happened exactly," said Soileau. "We'll usually try to interview the student who has been bullied or threatened or intimidated in some way. From there we'll go and look for the perpetrator, try to find the incidents when it happened, what was the circumstances and what was the actual outcome."

Principals look for witnesses to the bullying incidents, fellow students or teachers. And then parents are notified. But that's where the school board regulations stop. The rest is left up to the schools, because there are no other state requirements.

"Some schools use a cease and desist order, which they put into place," said Soileau. "That is one type of strategy that we use with students, to call them in and ask them. We also have some social skills classes that target aggressive behaviors at certain schools, not all of the schools have those. Then a disciplinary action is usually connected with a bullying incident of some sort. It depends on the level, the type of incident that happened."

If parents aren't happy with the disciplinary action, they can file an appeal. Soileau said it's all in the student handbooks, which are given to parents at the beginning of each school year.

"It's nice to have a policy and procedures, but I also know that every child is individual and they are very different," said Soileau. "We need to learn to embrace the differences instead of targeting them."

 Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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