Bedford Co. School Board to Vote on New Bullying Policy - WSET.com - ABC13

Bedford Co. School Board to Vote on New Bullying Policy

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Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Daniel Heffner

Bedford Co., VA-  A Bedford County teen has fought for months for stricter bullying policies in the school system. This week, she may get her wish. The school board is expected to vote Thursday on a new anti-bulling policy.

School Board members say this policy has been in the works for months, well before the highly publicized outcry. It is sure to make what bullying is a lot clearer and provide ways to prevent it.

This spring Laura Ellis, 16, took her fight for a stricter bullying policy to the school board. She read the names of bullied kids, she being one of them.

"It hurt pretty badly. I didn't want people to go through what I went through," said Ellis, a rising junior at Staunton River High School.

Her speech raised the eyebrows of a few administrators.

"I would have to say that I certainly was concerned," said Elisabeth Robertson, supervisor for Special Services at Bedford County Schools.

Robertson was once a school psychologist, so she understood Ellis's fight. Unbeknownst to Ellis, Robertson was already working on a solution by crafting a new "Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy." Robertson says it is an addition to bullying regulations in the schools' Code of Conduct.

"What we've added in are opportunities for formative activities, additional education for individuals who perpetrate bullying," said Robertson.

It also includes education for onlookers.

"We also have ways to teach students to effectively intervene as bystanders. How to effectively report incidents so authorities can investigate," said Robertson.

ABC 13 News showed the new policy to Ellis, who seems to feel her fight has been won.

"Yea that's pretty good," said Ellis.

The policy includes physical, non-physical, verbal, cyber bullying, even things like gossip. Administrators are also asking parents to join in on this effort because they point out bullying is not just in schools.

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