Bullying Task Force to begin work in April in Kansas

Kansas Education Commissioner Dr. Randy Watson announced Tuesday the formation of a Blue Ribbon Bullying Task Force to study the issue in Kansas schools.

“The incidence of bullying seems to be on the rise, especially with social media,” said Watson. “There are no easy solutions to this, but the State Board and I wanted to get out in front of this and lead this effort.”

The task force will bring conclusions back to the State Board of Education by December 2019.

“With new forms of communication, primarily social media, texting, Snapchat, you never really get rid of it,” said Watson. “It never leaves you. That’s what’s different, I think in 2019 than it was in decades past.”

Bullying in 2019 isn’t about stealing your lunch money.

“The national statistics on bullying from stopbullying.gov would tell us that most bullying happens in middle-school age students, not necessarily in middle school itself,” said Watson. “The most common types of bullying are verbal and social.”

About 28 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 experience bullying sometime during a year.

“We’re going to travel throughout the state, hear testimony, hear responses from parents whose kids have been bullied and then hopefully bring robust recommendations back to us,” said Watson. “Dr. Rick Ginsberg, the dean of the School of Education at KU, and James Regier, school superintendent at Whitewater Remington, that has a counseling
background, are going to co-chair this important work. We’ll have about 25 to 30 members and this work will start in April.”

Bullying has been the focus of several legislative proposals during the 2019 session.

Graphic courtesy KASB