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Bully reports need further discussion, Lerner says

Published May 11, 2011

Following our story Monday about schools' inconsistent reporting of student bullying complaints, Pinellas County school board member Linda Lerner said today she'd like to hear further discussion of how these investigations are being handled.

Last year, Pinellas County reported 71 bullying incidents to the state Department of Education. But numbers collected by district administrators in the Office of Prevention indicate a more accurate figure would have been over 1,000.

Prompted by Lerner's questions, administrators explained to the board Tuesday that schools are having a hard time accounting for all of the investigations in part because of they must complete more than one report. But district leaders say they are working toward streamlining the process now so that all schools can identify bullying and report bullying more consistently and more accurately.

"That's something that needs to be cleaned up," superintendent Julie Janssen said.

Lerner suggested the board discuss the matter at length, possibly during a June workshop.