Local Schools Use New Tool in Fight Against Bullying

ELK GROVE -- It’s a tough thing for any parent to hear that their child has become the target of a bully.

"The thing that really broke my heart is his bully told him he should just go kill himself because he’s a loser and no one likes him," said mother Lili DeVaney. "I cried my eyes out because you don’t want your babies to go through anything like that. You don’t want them to feel that bad."

DeVaney knew she had to do something, not just to protect her son but any student like him. It’s why she started lobbying the Elk Grove Unified school board for solutions to fight against bullying.

"I was one of the ones that said we needed some anonymous reporting system because what happens with the teens they want to do the right thing but they don’t want to be labeled a snitch," DeVaney told FOX40.

The district listened and rolled out a new online system for students and parents to report any issues involving bullying, discrimination, vandalism or self-harm.

Parents can go to their child’s school website to find a link for the Incident Reporting System. There a form must be filled out and submitted.

There is also an option to submit the form anonymously.

"In addition to our teachers, in addition to our counselors, in addition to administrators and your parents, this is just another venue for them to come and report something that at times they feel shy," said Valley High School Principal Richard Gutierrez.

The survey will be sent to the school principal and an incident response team, so the school can investigate and figure out what needs to be done.

Over the first year, the system will cost the district up to $43,000. After that, it will cost up to $30,000 per year to keep it running.

"If it saves one kid, one student, it’s served its purpose," said Valley High School Vice Principal Christopher Clark.

DeVaney just hopes students will actually take advantage of the survey and the school will take complaints seriously.

"It’s something that I’m definitely going to talk to my kids about, something I’m going to show them how to use and I think every parent in our district should do that," she said.

The district stresses that this is by no means meant to replace talking in person with teachers or counselors if students are having issues. It’s just another venue to help.

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