The STARS program has released a mid-year report of the bullying and harassment complaints within Hamilton County schools.

This report is based off surveys completed by students, teachers and principals from each school in Hamilton County.

There are some numbers that appear to be staying the same and others that are declining.

Karen Glenn has been a part of the Students Taking A Right Stand (STARS) program for many years.

She says the difference between bullying and conflict is often confused.

“I think, unfortunately, the term bullying has been overused and when it's overused, it's misused,” says Glenn.

Hamilton County schools educate about 44,000 students. 

“From rural to suburban to urban and so we kind of become a little melting pot,” Glenn says. “So, it has to be an emphasis on how to interact with one another in an appropriate manner.”

The 2016-2017 school year number of total cases of bullying or harassment was 217 which is 33% less than the year before.

After the first semester of the 2017-2018 school year the overall number of confirmed cases are half of last year’s numbers.

“We are glad that our numbers have not increased from last year, but our hope is that when we get our year in data that we see a reduction in the incidents,” Glenn says.

The goal of the STARS program is to train every seventh grader to take a stand against bullying and harassment within each school.

Glenn says this age group is ideal because they are used to the school but they aren't preparing to leave for high school yet.

“It's more empathy based, so we know that some of the inappropriate behaviors come as a result of there being a lack of empathy,” Glenn says.

On the high school level, the student government creates an action plan catered to each school environment.

Glenn explains one of the action plans implemented in a school.

“The students that were trained will go in the lunchroom and would sit with someone different,” Glenn explains. “That breaks the cliques that sometimes occur in the lunchroom.”

For those students who want to make a report about an incident should tell a teacher as well as a parent. Students who do not feel comfortable can file a complaint online.

The full year report will be complete by mid-June.