Norton Schools Sees Increase in Bullying Reports
Majority of students opting out of telling school staff members.
The latest bullying survey results at Norton Public Schools revealed an increase of reports over last year.
This year five incidents were reported at Norton High School, 27 at Norton Middle School, 16 at Henri A. Yelle Elementary School, 12 at L. G. Nourse Elementary School and one at J. C. Solmonese School. In all cases this is an increase over last year, in which zero incidents were reported at Norton Middle School, High School and L. G. Nourse Elementary School. Three were reported at Henri A. Yelle Elementary, and five were recorded at J. C. Solmonese Elementary.
Curriculum director Jennifer O’Neil said that these results were expected as students became more aware of bullying definitions and reporting procedures.
“I can’t really say that I’m surprised to see that the high school has less reported incidents [than in the middle school],” said Student Council representative Bryce McCarthy. “Just speaking from personal experience, the middle school has a lot more incidents with children being picked on.”
The survey also revealed that in the elementary schools, 50 percent of students have never been bullied while about 29 percent were bullied more than once. When it came to reporting the incident, about 78 percent told a parent. About 51 percent said they were comfortable telling a teacher.
At the middle school level, 54 percent said they have never been bullied at school while 20 percent said a few times and 7 percent said many times. When it came to cyberbullying, 56 percent said it has not happened. About 17 percent say it has happened more than once. Approximately 27 percent told their friends while 13 percent chose to tell their parents. Only 7 percent told a school adult.
At Norton High School 53 percent say they have never been bullied while only 9 percent said they were bullied many times. Twenty three percent said they are sometimes cyberbullied. Eight percent reported it to a school adult while the majority told friends.
Last year 67 percent of all Norton Public School students said they had never been bullied, while 2 percent say they are every day. Nineteen percent said that they experienced bullying one to two times a month, while 6 percent say they were bullied one or two times a week.
When it came to students talking about these incidents, 22 percent say that they didn’t tell anyone while 15 percent say they told a parent. Nine percent told a teacher.
“This shows that we really need to work with our students and letting them know that it’s OK to come to us if you’re having a problem and that we are on your side and we want to make school a safe and enjoyable place for everybody,” O’Neil said.
McCarthy also noted that more reports aren’t made due to fear of backlash from the bully and his or her friends.
At all schools, students said the majority of bullying happens in the hallways, the cafeteria and classroom.
“I don’t understand how anybody is being bullied in the classroom,” said School Committee chairwoman Beth McManus.
O’Neil agreed that shouldn't be happening, adding that bullying might not occur on the bus or walking to and from school because students might be driven.