There were five confirmed cases of bullying in Oak Ridge Schools last year, a number that is much lower than in many other school districts across the state and in some other nearby districts.
The numbers were reported in a new, first-of-its kind report that said there were 7,555 reported cases of bullying in Tennessee schools last year. Nearly 73 percent of them—or 5,478 cases—were confirmed after investigation.
The report said Oak Ridge Schools had 14 bullying cases reported in the 2012-2013 school year, but only five were confirmed after investigation. All five of those were related to sex or gender discrimination, the report said.
The numbers varied in other nearby school districts. Anderson County Schools had 129 bullying cases reported and 53 confirmed, while Clinton City Schools had one reported and confirmed. Fifteen cases in Anderson County involved the use of electronic technology, the report said.
Roane County had 102 cases reported and 75 confirmed, and Knox County had 182 of each. Lenoir City had 150 reported cases and 71 confirmed, while Loudon County had 12 and five.
The highest number of cases were reported (923) and confirmed (812) in Davidson County, where Nashville is located. Some school districts, including Maryville City Schools, said they had no reported cases.
By category, the highest percentage of cases—9.2 percent—involved sex or gender-based discrimination. There were 695 of those cases across the state, the report said.
The next highest percentage of cases—roughly 7.5 percent—involved the use of electronic technology. There were 564 of those cases, the report said.
The Bullying and Harassment Compliance Report was issued by the Tennessee Department of Education this month. It was required under legislation passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2012. Sen. Bill Ketron, a Murfreesboro Republican, and Rep. Charles Curtiss, a Sparta Democrat, sponsored the legislation requiring the statewide study in 2012 in the wake of two high-profile bullying-related student suicides in Middle Tennessee, The Tennessean reported.
The report defined bullying as a specific type of harassment that generally includes three critical elements: aggressive behavior, a behavior pattern typically repeated over time, and an actual or perceived imbalance of power.
The report said distinguishing peer conflict from peer abuse is not easy, and the gap between reported and confirmed cases of bullying shows the need for more community education.
The report said there is no “quick fix” for bullying, but school districts are implementing initiatives and policies to prevent it.
Here are the numbers of reported and confirmed cases in a few other districts in the region:
- Blount County—72, 53;
- Campbell County—7, 7;
- Morgan County—1, 1;
- Scott County—25, 25;
- Sevier County—152, 104; and
- Union County—53, 53.
See the school district numbers here.
Note: This story was updated at 1:20 p.m.