More students are experiencing bullying in Virginia than before, how parents can help

One in five students in Virginia experience bullying, according to experts

ROANOKE, Va. – As the new school year approaches, it brings new challenges with it for both students and parents, like bullying.

Which, experts say is on the rise since the pandemic.

Statistics show one in five children in Virginia experience bullying.

Some of the most vulnerable groups are children with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and people of color.

Blue Ridge Behavioral Health’s School-Based Therapist, Reagan Costello-White spoke with 10 News about ways parents can prepare their child to face a bully.

Like practicing assertiveness with their child and identifying an adult their child can confide in.

“You can help your kids identify that one safe person at the school that one safe person and they can talk to and trust. That might be a teacher they like, a school counselor, someone in the cafeteria,” said Costello-White.

To combat bullying, Lynchburg City Schools has a layered approach they’ve put in place.

“One of our first lines of defense is Gaggle, which is a monitoring software which looks for any kind of instances or wording in students’ emails or Google Documents,” said Chief Academic Student Services Officer, Dr. Derrick Brown.

Lynchburg City Schools, along with Roanoke City Public Schools uses an online tool for people to report instances of bullying.

“A way people can report bullying on our website is called ‘Speak Up,’ said Dr. Brown. “Our school counselors are another line of great defense,” he added.

One thing parents should keep in mind, bullying can happen outside of the classroom, too.

“Bullying happens in a lot more places now. It’s not just at school, it’s online, it’s in TikTok, it’s on Instagram. You need to try and start a conversation with your kids so they know they can come to you,” said Costello-White.

A new Virginia law, which went into effect this year, will now require principals of public schools to notify a parent of any student involved in an alleged bullying incident within 24 hours of when it takes place.

The previous guideline was five days.

Officials hope this new law will lower the number of students being bullied.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.