The number of reported cases of bullying at Red Bank Regional High School dropped from 2011 to 2012 while confirmed case numbers remained the same, according to a mid-year report on Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) at the Jan. 16 board of education meeting.
Measuring the first three months of the school year, the report indicated that numbers dropped for investigated cases compared to the same time period as last year, according to Robert Donohoe, assistant principal and anti-bullying coordinator for RBR.
In the first three months of the 2011-2012 school year, there were 32 HIB incidents investigated compared to 21 in 2012. There were six confirmed HIB cases over the same time period in both school years, according to Donohoe.
Confirmed cases in 2012 included:
- Harassment in boys locker room;
- Ongoing harassment on school bus;
- Harassment in the classroom;
- Inappropriate behavior on the school bus with multiple students involved;
- Cyber-bullying with multiple students involved;
- Harassment in classroom.
Donohoe said that of the 48 students involved in investigated HIB incidents in the first half of both school years, 23 were freshmen. Four of the six confirmed cases also involved freshman.
Over the course of both school years there were no repeat offenders, said Donohoe. There were multiple victims in two of the six confirmed 2012 cases and a significant decrease in the number of special education students who were victims in HIB incidents from one year to the next.
RBR adopted a zero-policy stance towards bullying in accordance to state manadates and adherence to HIB reporting in September 2011.
Superintendent Jim Stefankiewicz said at Wednesday's meeting that HIB numbers might be down this year because students are "becoming more in tune with the difference between conflict and bullying."
"Last year, any possible disagreement between students was being reported," he added. "Peer mediation has done wonders in terms of settling conflict."
Donohoe also credited the involvement of the school's resource officer -- a Little Silver Police officer -- for preventing repeat HIB incidents among students. "They understand it's serious," he said.