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New rules mean counties must report bullying; bullying expert Dorothy Espelage to lead workshop at Shepherd University

by The College of Education and West Virginia Public Broadcasting / May 7, 2012

MAY 7, 2012 (West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Cecelia Mason)— West Virginia education officials are taking steps to address bullying and are working to involve students, school employees and the greater community in counteracting the problem.

As a 2007 lawsuit against the Berkeley County schools made its way on appeal through federal court, the West Virginia legislature and education department made changes in the law and student code of conduct that gives all counties more ammunition to combat bullying.

In 2011 the legislature passed a bill that Don Chapman, assistant director of healthy schools for the WV Department of Education said expands the definition of bullying.

Dorothy Espelage is a professor of educational psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a nationally recognized bullying researcher. She’ll conduct a workshop at Shepherd University May 19, 2012, for middle and secondary educators, social workers and others.

Espelage’s research shows bullying peaks in fifth through eighth grade. “We have 17 percent of kids really engaging in high levels of bullying other kids, 15 percent that are chronically victimized, and 8 percent of these bully victims,” Espelage said.