WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Districts from all over the area have different approaches for trying to stop bullying from happening, whether in the hallway, on the playground, or even online.
But Sally Miller, the Director of Development for both the West Lafayette School Corporation and Education Foundation, says the problem goes much deeper.
"It's a society problem, it's just that school get the blame," says Miller.
Miller is also a former school principal with 18 years experience.
"It's better, the incidents in schools are down. I'm sad to say cyberbullying is up big-time," she says.
Miller says anti-bullying programs and materials started being created for schools about 20 years ago. She says they have helped. Training and education focuses on helping people who witness bullying incidents to do something.
"The witnesses today have been empowered to walk into a situation, 'Come on, cut that out, you know better than that,'" she says.
But with less than 15 percent of a schoolchild's calendar year actually in school, she says schools are limited. She adds bullying is a pattern learned from other places, often television, where even non-violent shows like reality competitions teach kids how to be aggressive and not cooperate with others.
"Thirteen percent of the time, that's all we have with these kids," she says. "What are the other influences that are in their life? Where are they not learning positive behaviors?"
She believes bullying can be an inaccurate word for some behaviors. For example, a child can be isolated because they have played too many video games and haven't learned healthy social interactions. Or a child may not play well with others because he or she is always the center of attention at home.
She believes the term "bullying" is overused.
"There's a lot of social problems that get labeled bullying," she says.
But if a child is truly being bullied, "a parent's responsibility is always to advocate for their child."
She says the next step for parents is voicing your concerns to everyone who supervises your child, at school, daycare, even extracurricular activities like scouts so they can be on the lookout for bullying.
Then, parents have to be ready to listen.
"Parents have to be ready to hear what somebody in a supervisory capacity has to say," Miller says.
When it comes to cyberbullying, "schools don't have the power, parents have the power, period," she says.
To stop it, she says, every parent should have and enforce one rule:
"Parents should give any kind of social media access to their child with one proviso. I have the password. You change that, your phone is gone."
If the phone goes, she says it's amazing to see how quickly the behavior of most teens changes.
Miller is a big proponent of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program which includes warning signs to look for and tips for parents.
A state commission looking for ways to improve the lives of Indiana's most vulnerable children wants to explore whether there's a link between methamphetamine arrests and child welfare cases.
An Indianapolis mother was sentenced in court Thursday for child neglect charges.
The Indianapolis Zoo hosted its annual "Christmas at the Zoo" fundraiser Wednesday, but the festivities became a secondary celebration for one special family.