Special Reports

WATCH: Experts tackle Bullying in a News 2 Town Hall

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) -- Bully. Victim. Most of us have been one or the other. Sometimes, both.

The struggle is real for kids, parents and school administrators as they look to cope with behavior ranging from simple teasing to soul-crushing taunts and harassment.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention defines bullying as “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners, involving an observed or perceived power imbalance.” The Tennessee Department of Education web site mirrors that bullying definition, but takes it a few steps further – “unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated, over time. The imbalance of power involves the use of physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity control to harm others.”

The state of Tennessee has laws on the books requiring every school district to have a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment. Schools are also required to have procedures in place for investigating such behavior.

Requirements are one thing. Reality can be another. Some kids are too afraid or ashamed to come forward.

“A lot of times, students are reluctant to report that they are being bullied. They don't want the people to know that they've reported or they don't want to be seen in the office being a tattletale,” Dickson County High School assistant principal Melinda Fortner says. Schools in Dickson County are among the growing list to take up app-based technology to allow students to anonymously report bullying incidents.

According to the CDC, 19-percent of high school students reported being bullied last year. 15-percent say they were cyberbullied. Technology and various social media platforms have served as a conduit for bad behavior.

Bullying by electronic means can also leave a trail, thus helping bullying victims or their parents prove a case. The Wilson County School System encourages the documenting of incidents as part of the response process.

Adults are guilty of bullying, too. Tennessee state lawmaker Antonio Parkinson created the Healthy Workplace Act, which won approval five years ago. “We are the first state in the nation to pass a workplace bullying law,” Parkinson told News 2’s this past week. “I received more calls from this legislation, in regards to this legislation than any other piece of legislation I've ever filed,” he added.

News 2 is investigating the impact of bullying across the area. We have special reports all day Thursday in every newscast. We also invite you to join the conversation in a live town hall meeting, airing at 6:30 p.m.

Stories featured include:

Parents turn to attorneys for bullying help

I think my child is a bully, what should I do?

Martial arts align with research in coaching kids through bullying

Workplace bullying an epidemic in Tennessee


Parents of a bullied child need to know their rights and responsibilities


Study: Instagram tops list for cyber bullying among teens, young adults

School districts turn to apps to help report bullying

Is the term 'bullying' overused in schools?



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