School District Now Has Procedure for Reporting Harassment or Abuse

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) Tennessee state law requires that every school district have a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyber-bullying, and setting up a procedure to report violations.
Until Wednesday the Hamilton county department of education only had "part" of that law in effect.
But things are changing quickly in the wake of the Ooltewah High school basketball incident.

ELIZABETH CREWS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNIFI-ED " We need to do everything in our power to insure that it doesn’t happen again to another student."

Elizabeth Crews and her organization, Inifi-ed, has been calling attention to how hard it is for people to report hazing or abuse in the Hamilton county school district. She learned in December that the local district is only dealing with 8 of the 13 areas required by state. There was no easy way to report violations anonymously.
And, that was before the 15 year old freshman was sexually assaulted two days before Christmas.

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ELIZABETH CREWS "The victim’s family did say that you know that this policy..if it had been in place could have prevented what happened."

New school board members were already looking at those problems. Chairman Dr. Jonathan Welch last summer assigned members to study the policies dealing with hazing and harassment.

DR. STEVE HIGHLANDER, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER "One thing that our chairman, Dr., Martin said, is we need to make sure we are in compliance with state law…we all agreed, we got copies of the policy, we read over them and then this came uo before our second meeting."

There is one major change in the last 24 hours–the Hamilton county school district has a tip line so that anyone can report abuse.
It’s on the main page…and you can remain anonymous.
Until now there was no procedure for doing that.
Assistant superintendent Dr. Lee McDade tells news 12 that procedure has actually been in the works for several weeks, and not a knee-jerk reaction to the Ooltewah case.
Other changes are pending.

DR. STEVE HIGHLANDER "Dr. Martin has got a community advisory committee that’s going to work with us…people from all walks of life."