News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


Community leaders on Indy's west side address bullying, cyberbullying in schools

Posted at 11:38 PM, Mar 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-21 23:39:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Cyberbullying affects one in four children.

That's according to Dr. Samantha Franklin who says there are ways you can prevent your child from becoming a part of that statistic.

“Install those parental controls, give boundaries, set limits. After your child is responsible and can follow those rules, then you take away some of those parameters. It’s so much easier to loosen than to tighten," Dr. Franklin said.

There were just over 5,100 reported cases of bullying in schools in the state of Indiana last year.

The majority of those cases are verbal bullying, which includes teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, or threatening to cause harm.

Dr. Franklin spent years working as a middle school counselor in both Washington and Pike Townships, and saw firsthand the affects bullying has on a student.

“Depression, anxiety, apprehension of going to school. You have kids who have a hard time making friends because they’ve been betrayed by supposed friends," she said.

On Tuesday, community leaders on Indy’s west side held a town hall to address these concerns.

This comes just one week aftera 13-year-old Covington boy took his own life, after suffering relentless bullying at his middle school.

“Life is valuable. You need to be valuable to each other and begin to make a difference in each other’s life," Pastor Wayne Moore said.

Pastor Moore says it’s going to take the whole community’s effort to stop hatred from spreading and encourages parents to take action.

“Parents are having a problem connecting with wrap around services. That’s what we intend to do tonight. Take names, addresses, telephone numbers. Create a list for wrap around services that Indianapolis and Marion County offers," he said.

Right now, there are efforts in the statehouse to help victims of bullying.

House Bill 1483 would require schools notify the parents of both the bully and the victim about an incident. It would also require schools to prioritize the safety of victims.

The bill has already passed by the house and is being considered by the senate.