The Shelbyville Central Schools board last week heard results of the recent Climate/Safety/Bullying Survey, presented by Dr. Brad Balch, Indiana State University. The survey, open for 83 days, was completed by 483 students, parents, school employees, and community stakeholders. 

Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents gave the district an overall positive rating regarding safety at school and even more responded positively when asked to assess safety at extracurricular events. Dr. Balch noted that, in line with national trends, reported bullying typically occurs in a cyber environment rather than physical altercations. The survey also asked for suggested solutions for improvement.

“I feel like we’ve made strides in this area, but we can always do better,” Dr. Matt Vance, SCS Superintendent, said. “This is definitely going to remain a focus of ours.”

School climate-focused initiatives implemented this year include adding behavioral coaches at the elementary level and an additional guidance counselor at the middle school, contracting with outside mental health support agency NEXUS for all buildings, more robust bullying prevention training, a mental health program at the high school, and implementation of Trust-Based Relational Intervention, a trauma-informed intervention program.

Students and caregivers are encouraged to use STOPit, an app that anonymously notifies school administrators of reported bullying. A link to the app is available on each school’s website.

The board and Dr. Vance also discussed re-administering the survey at the end of the school year to further gauge progress.