I am very excited to begin another school year and I’m especially excited about the great initiatives that we have going in ISD #2142. We will share many of those initiatives with you in future articles. If you have not been in our buildings this summer I am confident you will notice the many changes and improvements. Please stop in and look around! We have been extremely busy this summer behind the scenes getting ready for another year. August is always an exciting time as several teachers are back in their classrooms getting ready for that first day. I’ve also noticed several students back in the building participating in extra curricular activities.
Bullying My administrative team and I have spent a lot of time this summer discussing the topic of bullying in our schools. I want to reassure you that this is an issue that will not be ignored in any of our buildings. If your child is having an issue, please report it to your building principal immediately. Bullying normally doesn’t happen in the site of staff. It most often takes place in the hallways, locker rooms or wherever there isn’t as much adult supervision. Don’t assume we know about it, report it. One you report it, it will be investigated and followed through with appropriate action based on district policies. Keep in mind, we can’t share with you any consequences taken due to data privacy laws.
We are seeing more reports of bullying issues that are happening outside of school via cyberspace. We take bullying very seriously at 2142 and never ignore an issue when it is reported to us. Don’t ever assume that we know exactly what it taking place. If your child is experiencing difficulties, don’t hesitate to let us know about it. Unfortunately, when it takes place online and it’s not directly tied to the school, we may not be able to help as much as we otherwise would. However, the new statute states that if it happens off the school premises to the extent such use substantially and materially disrupts student learning or the school environment, we need to investigate it. There is always a fine line between free speech and cyber bullying.
Bullying Versus Peer Conflict The new state statute defines bullying as follows: “Bullying” means intimidating, threatening, abusive or harming conduct that is objectively offensive and:
- there is an actual or perceived imbalance of power between the student engaging in the prohibited conduct and the target of the prohibited conduct, and the conduct is repeated or forms a pattern; OR…
- materially and substantially interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or performance or ability to participate in school functions or activities or receive school benefits, services or privileges.
I cannot promise you that the new laws will completely eliminate bullying in any school but I do promise that when it is reported to us, we will follow through and do whatever is in our power to make 2142 safe for every student.
Best wishes for a great 2014-15 school year! If you ever have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the district office at 218-749-8130.