HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Office of Attorney General is releasing a report of recommendations for preventing and intervening in bullying for National Bully Prevention Month.
The TeenTALK report is a guide that provides students, parents, and educators insight against bullying the proper measures against it.
The report summarizes the feedback gathered during the TeenTALK sessions hosted by the Office around the Commonwealth during the 2018-19 school year.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro is taking a hard stand against the issue saying that it is a pervasive issue that impacts students across the state with a fifth of students aged 12-18 be being bullied at school each year.
He also states that kids that are often targeted are students of color, students with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community
“While this is not a new problem, bullying has taken on a new shape and a new intensity since I was in school due to the rise of the internet and social media. It is critical that we listen to the students about what they are experiencing and what support they need, and that we act to ensure everyone feels safe at school.”
Students who had participated in the TeenTALKs advocated strongly on three points that need to be addressed: student mental health services staffing, data reporting gaps, and program funding.
Recommended action include expanding student reporting methods, training staff in prevention and intervention techniques, and establishing consistent policy for investigating reports of all bullying.
The Office of Attorney General began operating the Safe2Say Something in early 2019 as an anonymous reporting system in coordination with Sandy Hook Promise.
Safe2Say Something attempts to empower students, teachers, school administrators, and others to anonymously report potentially unsafe activities in schools by submitting tips over the phone, online, or through the Safe2Say Something mobile app.
Students who participated in the TeenTALKs approved of the program and the benefits in safely and anonymously reporting concerns. They also said Same2Say Something was a great way to bring concerns to adults who could intervene.
Four TeenTALK events were held with students and administrators from 13 districts representing four counties, including Allegheny, Chester, Dauphin, and Lehigh.