News from the desk of Sheriff James Potter


“No One Appreciates a Bully”

Dear DeSoto County,

We have all seen or heard about a bully, and all the grief that can be caused by them to others. I’d like to share how the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office acts against the errant behavior.

Bullying consists of unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children, and has the potential to be repeated over time. From unwanted physical or verbal comments to persistent teasing, examples of bullying are shown in a wide range of actions that have progressively changed over time.

A misconception of common bullying incidents is a bigger, older kid physically overpowering a younger, smaller individual for lunch money. However, in society today, especially with the anonymity of the Internet and social media platforms, bullying is a much more complex situation.

Research provides information regarding the impact of bullying and the various methods to address it. Studies focusing on bullying behavior in schools found the behavior is usually influenced by a young individual seeking to climb the popularity ladder. Law enforcement officials can be a valuable resource toward overcoming the statistics and stereotypes to help impacted children and young adults by recognizing the common targets. Students who are different in some way, whether it’s race, religion, appearance or disability are often targets of bullying and harassment.

School Resource Deputies play a crucial role toward creating and maintaining a safe place where your students can learn and grow without any fear. SRDs serve as a positive influence on students and provide a sense of safety and security to educational leaders in the school system as well.

When responding to a child who has been involved in a bullying incident, it is important to effectively listen with empathy. The power of authority SRDs hold in school can be beneficial toward helping a targeted child feel safe. When SRDs recognize and understand effective strategies to use with young people to create bully-free zones, they contribute toward a positive and safe environment in the schools.

Law enforcement is a positive role toward eliminating bullying by building positive and trusted relationships. By listening and taking the situation seriously, this allows the child to feel heard and supported. SRDs express concern and show empathy about the child’s experience, allowing the child to feel comfortable and confident to tell the truth if a situation happens again. By having a serious discussion to explain to the child why bullying happens, this can ensure the child understands it’s not their fault they are a target to the bully. SRDs will reassure to the child that they are dedicated to work together with school staff to investigate the situation and find a solution.

Citizens can take action for change by raising awareness and bringing students, school and community leaders together with law enforcement to address bullying issues and develop a plan for prevention.

I am committed to ensuring DeSoto County is a safe place for students to learn and grow and I have zero tolerance for bullying in our communities.

Be Kind, Be Safe and God Bless.

Sheriff Potter