Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.


NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An analysis of the latest data from Tennessee schools by News4 Investigates shows not only does cyber bullying continue to be the biggest method of bullying, but that students are targeted by their gender and sexual orientation than race or disability.

While the 2018-2019 bullying and harassment compliance report is not yet completed by the state department of education, News4 Investigates filed open records request for the data that is used to compile the statewide report.

Our analysis found what is happening statewide tragically mirrors the suicide of 16-year-old Channing Smith, whose death is prompting national attention.

Smith’s family said he was cyber bullied for his sexuality and took his own life.

Our analysis found that in the 2017/2018 school year, 11 percent of confirmed bullying cases comprised of students targeted for their gender or sex, and that number rose to 14 percent in 2018/2019.

That data is further solidified by data from metro schools, which shows 24 reports of bullying based on gender and sex in 2017/2018, but shot up to 159 reports in 2018/2019. 

Bullying based on sexual orientation or perceived orientation can be included by schools in statistics based on gender and sex.

In mirroring Smith’s suicide, the data also shows that cyber bullying continues to be the most frequent form of bullying, ranking 14 percent in both 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.

News4 Investigates also contacted individual school system to find out in the 2018-2019 school year which schools had the most reports of bullying. You can read those below. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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