Six of seven Elkhart County school corporations have now submitted bullying data for the 2013-14 school year to the Indiana Department of Education.
A statewide school bullying report was released earlier this month by the Indiana Department of Education. At the time, Concord and Goshen community schools’ data was not included, but Concord Community Schools submitted its number of reported bullying incidents to the state Monday, Aug. 11.
Concord Community Schools had 53 reported bullying incidents for the last school year. There were 32 cases of verbal bullying incidents, 11 physical incidents, seven social or relational incidents and three electronic or written incidents.
The reason for the delay pertained to some confusion about how to submit the information to the state, said Concord Community Schools superintendent Wayne Stubbs. The reporting process is a little different from before.
Stubbs added that the number of reported bullying incidents in Concord schools is comparable to others throughout the county. Elkhart Community Schools had 513 reported bullying incidents, which looks much higher than other districts at first glance, but Elkhart’s student population is double the size of the second largest school district in the county, which is Goshen Community Schools. Baugo schools had 41 incidents, Wa-Nee had 35, Middlebury had 26 and Fairfield had 11.
The definitions for different types of bullying in the Indiana Code help with identifying problems, Stubbs said. Physical bullying, for example, is defined as hurting a person’s body or possessions. That not only includes hitting, kicking and punching another person, but making mean or rude hand gestures.
“It helps us to work through specific situations as they come about in each of our buildings,” Stubbs said. “And again, it’s because it’s a new reporting process. It’s been something we’ve worked through this year with our staff and administration.”
The definitions for the different types of bullying and the bullying data for the other five Elkhart County school corporations are publicly available on the Indiana Department of Education’s website.
The Elkhart Truth is waiting for a response from Goshen Community Schools about why its data were missing from the report.
Goshen isn’t the only corporation yet to report its data — about 834 of Indiana’s 1,917 elementary, middle and high schools weren’t listed on the report.
The state is working with the school corporations yet to contribute to the report, said Indiana Department of Education press secretary Daniel Altman.
“This is the first year that this type of data collection was required,” Altman said in an email exchange. “We have seen a handful of schools that were unable to provide the data.”
The reporting process is all part of HEA 1423, which the Indiana General Assembly passed during the 2013 legislative session. It requires school corporations to report bullying incidents to the state by July 1. The Indiana Department of Education is then required to publish its report on the number of bullying incidents throughout the state on their website by Aug. 1.