Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Small NY School Board Tackles Bullying Issues Head On!
BENNINGTON BANNER, October 6, 2010
Staff Writer

During a recent Board of Education meeting, board members took up the issue of bullying at Cambridge Central School.

[Secondary Principal] Chris [Signor] and I dealt with some bullying this week," said Tammy Silvernell, assistant principal for grades 7-12.
Signor told the board that the high school now has an informal policy in place, in which there is a record created and follow-up action on every instance of bullying, including cyberbullying through text message, Facebook, or e-mail.
An incident of bullying among students, Signor said, began online and continued to the parking lot of the school on Monday, Sept. 27.
Students Interviewed
Signer said school administrators interviewed every student involved in an incident of bullying and met with parents, either in the office of by conference call. He said administration spoke to 13 separate students while in the process of investigating the incident.
We're ahead of the curve, Signor said, regarding the school's efforts to curb bullying. Silvernell said that students involved in the most recent incident were surprised to be sat down and confronted by school officials with records of the exchange that took place on Facebook, both before Monday and then afterward.>br>
Most school districts are not currently taking action over acts of cyberbullying off school grounds, Signor said. Board member Deb Blanchfield said it was an issue not only in the high school but schoolwide.
Blanchfield raised the issue of a don't tattle response by teachers of young children who report bullying.
Board member Jan Woodcock called bullying a learned behavior that starts in the elementary.
A woman in the audience said that teachers had to respond to bullying correctly.
Signor reiterated that the school policy was for every instance to be reported and followed up on by administration.
The same follow-up and recording of any instance of bullying takes place at the elementary school as well, Elementary Principal Colleen Lester assured the board.
Lester said that bullying in the elementary school often involved a lot of "back and forth" between children, which administrators had to work through.
Board President Tom Woliski asked if there were any plans to quantify the school's response to bullying. Signor said that results were subjective now, but that they might develop a way of creating hard data over time.

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