With bullying on the rise --- especially in cyberspace â" local schools have protocol to follow when dealing with these sensitive cases.
When a child complains of a bully, schools immediately schedule a meeting with the "victim" and his or her parents to talk about what is happening. Next they meet with the accused bully to get their take on what's happening.
With hundreds of children in our local schools, both Lee County and Dougherty County Officials say they rely on witnesses to sift through the accusations to make sure they're a real problem. School officials and school police will question teachers, friends and fellow classmates for any information regarding the bullying to see if it's truly a problem.
If it is, officials sit down with the bully and his or her parents to talk about disciplinary measures. Similar to baseball, the bully protocol follows a "three strikes you're out" rule â" but school police say it's anything but a game.
Dougherty County School Police Sergeant Derra Salter says they take the issues very seriously when dealing with a potential bully.
Lee County Middle School Assistant Principal John Savelle says they focus on teaching the students that bullying causes lasting effects, both emotionally and physically.
Once a student reaches the third strike in either Lee or Dougherty County, they have to sit before the school system's tribunal board who decides whether or not the student will be sent to an alternative school for the rest of the year.
Both Sergeant Salter and Savelle say students in their school systems have been sent to an alternative school but most take the first disciplinary action seriously.