UPDATED: Monday, August 20, 2012 -- 10:50 p.m.
Milton Police launched an online form to report bullying ahead of the new school year. It is a response to a recent increase in incidents.
"Bullying is very under-reported," said Lt. John Conger of the Milton Police Department. "We hear through the grapevine that this happened after school or that happened after school almost on a daily basis. Young girls getting pushed into the snow banks by some of the bigger boys, just an escalation to the point that it was no longer boys will be boys or girls will be girls."
In coordination with local schools and the new Milton Youth Coalition, they launched a Bully Patrol of high school students to curb the problem last year. The kids wear bright orange shirts and monitor younger students on their way home, who get out of school later. That group will return, along with new police intervention at school and anti-bullying events.
"There are situations at school, there were some situations as kids were on their way home from school," said Northside Intermediate School Principal Sarah Stuckey. "Students sometimes feel scared to report it for fear of repercussions from their peers."
Stuckey and Conger also acknowledge the rise in cyber bullying, where students are targeted through their phones or Facebook accounts. They hope the new online form will empower students used to communicating on the computer.
The site allows anonymous submission of reports, and Conger says police may even respond with extra patrols near incidents.
Posted Monday, August 20, 2012 --- 4:00 p.m.
From the Milton Police Department:
Our agency is proud to announce that we have launched a link on our website which allows for anonymous reporting of bullying incidents that take place in our community. This new tool is the result of our partnership with the Milton Youth Coalition and their focus this fall on an anti-bullying campaign.
Last school year we detected a noticeable rise in the number of bullying incidents that were being alleged in our community, and the severity of some of them. While some of the incidents were taking place on school grounds, many were also reported elsewhere in the community. In response to that, the Milton Youth Coalition determined it would be their focus this fall to implement an anti-bullying program in the community. As previously released, there will be an upcoming community picnic to focus on the topic, and kick-off the programming. That will be held on September 7th at Northside Intermediate School, and more details will follow.
We feel this anonymous reporting tool is important, as sometimes victims and witnesses are hesitant to report incidents, as they fear retaliation. This link will allow those using it to report the events directly to the police department, and we will take appropriate actions based upon the information provided.
The Bully Alert link can be found at www.ci.milton.wi.us , and then click on the police department home page.