Spokane bullying numbers down, but does it matter? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane bullying numbers down, but does it matter?

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It's been an ongoing conversation about bullying after a Garry Middle School student recently took her own life.  Other students have said that the girl was a victim of bullying but the school has not been able to confirm that. 

KHQ dug deeper and got the number of bullying cases from last year and compared them to this year, but for some parents, the numbers don’t matter. 

"She doesn't even want to go to school," says Chantell Clark about her middle school age daughter.  "She fights me every morning."  Clark says her daughter deals with bullying all the time.   

"They call her a boy, they call her four eyes because she wears glasses," says Clark.  "She's in a special class and they make fun of her."

The numbers show a dramatic decrease in reported bullying incidents districtwide.  Spokane Public Schools had 319 bullying incidents reported for the 2014-2015 school year, but so far this year there are only 170 reported incidents.  That's a 26% decrease. 

So what's changed?  SPS says the Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports program (PBIS) helped turn the bullying problem around. 

"Before the behaviors even occur students are taught expectations and how they behave in different settings," says Matthew Henshaw, with the school district. 

Sometimes that bad behavior still happens though.   "We want them to be reflective and thinking about what was their part in that and what might they be able to change," says Henshaw.    

The district says it's lessened the number of office visits, with fewer "problem" students getting suspended or expelled.   

"Sometimes there are other options that allow the student to participate in their learning at school while also being able to amend the situation," says Henshaw. 

But Clark doesn't think the school is handling the problem, even after reporting the incidents with her daughter. 

"We're actually going to leave the district because the bullying is so bad."

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