Tampa: Parents now filing bullying reports online

By SHERRI ACKERMAN
The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA – The first complaint came at the end of the first day of school.

A boy at Randall Middle School in Lithia said he was struck on the head by another student as they rode the bus home. His mother reported the incident to Hillsborough County schools officials using the district’s new anonymous online system.

As of Friday, it was one of 45 reports received by the district under a new anonymous online reporting system designed to make it easier for victims of bullying to step forward.
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At Walker Middle, a return to school but not innocence

By DONNA KOEHN
Tampa Bay Online
ODESSA, Florida — When Walker Middle School opened in 1997, parents pulled their kids from private schools to go there. With journalism and drama classes, environmentally sensitive programs and like-minded families, this public school would do just fine.

Dotted with picturesque lakes, the area attracted professional people to multimillion-dollar estates, the kind of places with a gate and a driveway the length of a football field. Even Walker’s less-wealthy parents are police officers, nurses, schoolteachers.
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Walker Middle School: Florida county launching “Bully Busters” anti-bully campaign

By KATIE CORONADO
News Channel 8
You may have already seen bight blue posters that read “Don’t be Bullied,” or received one of the bookmarks being handed out around town. In the next few weeks, you may catch a television spot starring Hillsborough County students.

It’s all part of Hillsborough County’s new “Bully Busters” initiative to battle bullying in schools – prompted by charges that a Walker Middle School flag football player was sexually assaulted in a locker room with a hockey stick.
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Silence perplexing in Florida middle school bullying, rape

By Colleen Jenkins
and Marlene Sokol

St. Petersburg Times
TAMPA — Some students thought the boy was just getting picked on. Some were afraid to speak up. Some figured if the bullying was serious, the boy would tell.

This week, three months after news broke that four teens were accused of sexually assaulting a younger classmate in a Walker Middle School locker room, another troubling revelation made headlines. Nine students described as witnesses in the case had failed to report anything they saw until authorities questioned them.
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Florida school podcasts anti-bullying policy in wake of rape

St. Petersburg Times
Joseph Brown, the newly appointed principal of a Florida school where a student was raped in a locker room, cited other measures the school will take against bullying in a podcast posted on his Web page at Walker Middle School. Those strategies include drop boxes around the school and a link on the school’s Web site where students can report bullying anonymously.

“The school community will not condone or tolerate bullying or harassment in any form,” he said. Listen to the podcast.

Rape prompts Florida middle school to alter locker room policy

By Colleen Jenkins
St. Petersburg Times
TAMPA — Walker Middle School is altering its guidelines for locker room supervision in the wake of rape allegations.

Students no longer will be allowed inside locker rooms without a coach or administrator present, school district spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Friday. The rooms will be locked at all other times.
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Walker Middle School victim: Flag football team witnessed assault

By TOM BRENNAN
and RAY REYES

The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA — As other members of his team watched, a Walker Middle School flag football player said he was sexually assaulted by four of his teammates on at least 10 different occasions, according to court documents released Tuesday.

The boy said during each attack, he told his teammates to stop. Every time he was held down while his attackers used a hockey stick and a broomstick, the boy said. One of the teens threatened the boy and told him he better not tell a soul.
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