Beaufort County Schools to add new bullying policy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County Schools to add new bullying policy

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Some parents say schools aren't doing enough to protect their students from bullying. Investigators in Beaufort are still trying to determine if 12-year-old Celeste Wills took her own life as a result of bullying.

Beaufort County School officials said they already have a bullying policy in their student handbook but they are adding a new cyber bullying policy.

They incorporate technology in education, and they believe they have a responsibility to monitor cyber bullying. This has been in the works over the last couple of years since cyber bullying has increased nationwide.

"We have recently looked at our policies as it relates to bullying and cyber bullying," said Dr. Gregory A. McCord.  "We have sat down with senior staff, and we are creating something that will help us become more effective and efficient."

The Beaufort County School community continues to mourn the loss of Wills, who took her own life last week. We still don't officially know if it was related to bullying or cyber bullying.

At her vigil on Saturday, her parents said they discovered a blog where she communicated with people who were suicidal and bullied.

Many people now say schools need to do more. One parent said her son took his own life because of bullying four years ago when they were living in Virginia.

"Our family is forever changed," said Lisa Williamson.

She said she knows exactly what Wills' family is going through. She said her younger children are now homeschooled because she does not trust putting them in school.

"They need to make an unguided rule that if you hear it, do something," said Williamson.  

But that's the problem, Beaufort County officials said their biggest challenge with bullying is getting students to report it.

"I don't think it's so much as being afraid to say anything more so than not yet feeling comfortable," said McCord.  

He said all of their teachers are trained to handle bullying, and they have posters in their schools, encouraging students to report.

At Wills' vigil, her family said they had no idea she was being bullied because no one spoke up.

"If you see something, say something," said McCord.

The new bullying policy will be implemented in the fall. Beaufort County School officials said they continue to work with police as they continue to investigate Wills' death.

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