Broward News

Palm Beach County School District Has the Most Bullied Kids in the State

The Palm Beach County School District apparently has a bunch of stinkin' meanies.

According to some research by the Tampa Tribune, Palm Beach schools reported nearly 4,000 bullying incidents between 2008 and 2010, which is the most of any district in the state.

To put that in perspective, the paper says about half of the state's school districts reported fewer than ten bullying incidents during the same time period.

Despite some older folks' "back in my day" stories of schoolhouse bullies, bullying has become a major issue across the state and country.

Suicides related to bullying have been at the forefront of nationwide attention recently, and it's happened in Florida too.

But what's up with Palm Beach schools?

It reported nearly 4,000 bullying incidents in a district with around 172,000 youngsters.

Miami-Dade County Schools, the largest district in the state, reported 809 in the same stretch of time.

Not all districts report bullying incidents the same way, but the Palm Beach district may have a problem.

Consider this video, of a 13-year-old kid being beat up by a bully at a West Palm Beach middle school in October:

Craig Goldenfarb, a West Palm Beach lawyer, told the Tribune he's even represented two kids from Palm Beach schools in lawsuits over bullying.

He told the paper that the district doesn't thoroughly investigate bullying cases, and in one case, the district suspended both the bully and victim as part of the district's "zero tolerance" policy.

But don't worry; the district doesn't think it has a bullying problem, according to a Palm Beach Post article a few months ago:

Administrators at Jeaga Middle School in West Palm Beach are in denial about bullying. "I don't think we have any more fights than they have on any other campus," Principal Kevin Gatlin told Post reporter Kevin Thompson. That's not very comforting, since bullying is rampant at middle and high schools in Palm Beach County.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley