New York state is calling on schools to get tough against bullying and, judging from local school districts, the call is being heeded.
In fact, many anti-bullying efforts have been in practice for years. But administrators and educators say it's difficult, if not impossible, to gauge their effectiveness.
"This is hard to quantify because it is difficult to track instances that have been averted due to these programs," said Watkins Glen Superintendent Tom Phillips.
"What we can say is the climate of the building through use of discipline referral data has been much more positive in that a smaller percentage of the student population is being dealt with through the formal discipline procedure. This also speaks to the commitment of staff to deal with student issues as they arise rather than to simply 'write up' a student and refer it to the school administration. The impact of teacher intervention and involvement cannot be overstated," he said in an e-mail.
For all the good intentions, though, even the best of anti-bullying programs can't stop all bullying from happening, and clearly they haven't.