Bullying concerns raised at Lauderdale County School Board meeting

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Concerns that the Lauderdale County School District is not reporting bullying incidents were raised at its board meeting.

Tracey Dooley with the Lauderdale County Anti-Bullying Support Group addressed the board saying she has written to the State Department of Education about Lauderdale County Schools and Meridian Public Schools. She says the county had one report of bullying and the city reported zero. She did her own interviews with principals in the county who she says they tell her there were hundreds of bullying incidents.

"I know they had at least 100 incidents. I know one school had over 50,"

The board says it comes down to the way things have to be reported. They say the reporting system is out-of-date and are limited in the way incidents are coded. The board says if a bullying incident leads to a fight, the report would be filed as a fight and not bullying.

"Do we need to take a look at the way we report to the state and deal with that at the state level? Probably so," Superintendent Randy Hodges says.

Among the 12 Lauderdale County Schools, there are 6,300 students.

"It's not just a reporting issue. They need to address bullying," Dooley says.

The board says they have anti bullying procedures in place. They have been training counselors and teachers on bullying issues.

"I tried to call the board office to discuss it and they refuse to respond my requests," Dooley explains.

"I can assure you that the school district is not going to mislead or try to cover up anything," Hodges says.

Dooley says she intends to address the same concerns before the Meridian Public School Board.