Connie Foster, Director of Coordinated School Health, presented to the Cannon County Board, during their December meeting, a bullying prevention program for the school district, Ms. Foster stated that, "We need to enhance what we are doing in the area of School-Wide Positive Behavior Support and hone in on bullying." The SWPBS program is what Cannon County has been using in the past. It is based upon a rewards system for positive behavior, and does not seem to be consistent from school to school in the district.
The extra emphasis on bullying is a step in the right direction, but, the school district's solution to bullying is not without problems. One concern is not having a zero tolerance toward bullying under the pretence that a harsh penalty would discourage students from reporting being bullied to the school.
Standing up to a bully is not easy. Bullies have changed their tactics from physical to psychological abuse and the laws dealing with bullying are also facing challenges.
Bullying has changed. Culturally, bullies have been accepted as a rite of passage for kids. However, the recent suicides locally and nationally, have sparked an intense examination of laws and school policies regarding bullying. Bullying reaches beyond the jurisdiction of the school district and may be best addressed by law enforcement or civil action..
There is a workshop iplanned for December 14th at 6 p.m. in the Courthouse. Topics will include: “How to Talk with Educators”; “Tips for Parents of Bullied Children” and most importantly “How to Complete a Harassment Notice” to place the bully and both the parents and the school district on legal notice that bullying is occurring and needs to stop.
Also information regarding how to determine when bullying is elevated to a criminal offence level of “stalking” and or a civil rights violation, and what to do if it has. Orders of protection and restraining orders will also be discussed.
The first meeting will be directed toward helping parents protect their children and organizing a local resistance to bullying. All parents are invited to attend, children are welcome, but the focus will be on parental issues and concerns. Teachers and school administrators are also welcome to attend.
For more information contact Constable Jim Gibbs at 765-7470 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.