Roanoke County Students Look to Revise Bullying Policy - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Roanoke County Students Look to Revise Bullying Policy

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"There's really no way to understand why someone is treating you that way," says Sarah Thomsen.

Bullying is an issue many students struggle with in school; just ask Thomsen, a senior at Glenvar High School.

"I was bullied by someone who I thought was my friend and it was a hard time," she says.

Thomsen and Will Echols are on the Roanoke County student advisory council. This year they are standing up to bullies, looking to revise the Roanoke County school policy written back in 2004, which hasn't been updated since.

"It is not fair to those students who are bullied and it is just unfair in the Roanoke County environment or in our schools," Echols says.

"It is bittersweet because with students bringing it forward it hasn't improved as hoped," says Michele Dowdy with Roanoke County Public Schools.

Dowdy, coordinator of school counseling services, works with the council and says she was surprised by the students' request.

"I felt we had covered it so well back in 2004," Dowdy says.

So what do students want to change about the policy?

"Cyber bullying is a major threat throughout schools and it needs to be looked at," Echols says.

"Figure out how to stop the exclusion or prevent it," Thomsen says.

Dowdy agrees the policy needs work.

"It is not clear enough the difference between conflict and bullying. We did address them back in 2004, just not in such a way that we can work with it," Dowdy says.

Those ideas and many more will be discussed over the coming weeks in several meetings. Hoping to have to policy finalized by 2013, and curb the problem before it's too late.

To see Roanoke County's current bullying policy, go to boarddocs.com/vsba/roecnty/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=86DGKL669DC3

To find out how you can get involved in some of the meetings, contact the Roanoke County Public School main office at (540) 562-3700.