|Updated: 9/27/2012 5:56 pm
||Published: 9/27/2012 3:59 pm
Wednesday’s suicide of a Stillwater 8th grader in the hallway of his junior high has many schools on the lookout for signs of bullying.
Although the Stillwater district has said that 13-year old Cade Poulos never reported bullying, and it’s not clear exactly why he took his own life, many times bullying goes unreported.
The tragic death of Poulos has had a resounding impact on students across the state. Students at Sapulpa Middle School have several ways to get their voices heard. They can fill out a form online. Once it’s been reported, that will trigger a response team that will immediately investigate the bullying claims.
Poulos’ mother says he had close friends and wasn’t a target but did battle depression. However, other students at the Stillwater school say he was bullied. Grace Stewart attends Sapulpa Middle School. She didn’t’ know Cade personally but says that bullying can be a humiliating secret.
"They don't deserve all of that hurt and I don't think they deserve to die. It breaks my heart,” she says.
Like many students, Grace has been a target for bullies in the past who have made fun of her clothes and appearance. In the halls of her school, Cade’s story is on everyone’s mind.
"They were pretty sad about it and they hurt to,” she says.
Her mother Sheila is a counselor at the school, and takes the no bullying policy very seriously.
'There is a lot of bullying with words that we see here at the middle school. We work a lot with students on how they can better communicate their emotions and feelings other than using words that hurt,” says Sheila.
The Sapulpa district has already investigated reports of bullying this year.
"We've had five cases reported this year that have been investigated to my knowledge, and none of those have been to the level that they needed to be sent to the state department of education,” says Tom Trigalet with Sapulpa Public Schools.
Through online forms, teacher and student training and anti-bullying assemblies, the school is working hard to protect students from making the choice to hurt others.
“We need to do the best we can do to keep those bullies under control and not hurt anybody else,” says Grace.
If a student is caught bullying another student, counseling is provided to both students and consequences are swift for the bully.
We did some checking with other districts regarding their bullying policies.
Tulsa Public School students can anonymously report any concerns of a student who may be at risk. This would trigger a response team who would immediately investigate.
Union also has an anonymous reporting system, as well as a special help line for students who may feel bullied. The number to call is 918-461-4357.