The Pasco County school district has taken another step in its efforts to combat bullying by creating a page on the district website where students and parents can report bullying and learn more about how to address the problem.
The district also plans a forum in June with participation by families, legislators and educators "in order together to tackle this issue," Assistant Superintendent Amelia Van Name Larson told the school board Tuesday evening.
The bullying page on the district website includes a two-minute video, a definition of bullying and links to such resources as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, anti-bullying and cybersafety resources, the district's anti-bullying guide and a staff listing for the student services department.
A link also allows anyone to report a bullying incident.
To access the bullying page, go to www.pasco.k12.fl.us/studentservices/stopbullying.
School districts across the country have begun to put greater emphasis on dealing with bullies.
According to the Pasco district, examples of bullying can include teasing or taunting, social exclusion, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property and sexual, religious or racial/ethnic harassment.
The topic hits home in Pasco County, where students reportedly have committed suicide or attempted suicide after being bullied.
Relatives and friends have said Kiefer Allan, 15, a Sunlake High student, fatally shot himself in January 2011 after he was bullied on a school bus.
Four months later, Zachery Gray, 17, a Zephyrhills High student, hanged himself after school bullies subjected him to chronic torment, his family said. Gray survived, but he had brain damage and was paralyzed.
Two weeks ago, two Mitchell High students were arrested in connection with a Feb. 1 attack on another girl on a school bus.
One of the students recorded the attack on her cellphone and posted the video on Facebook.