It’s good to see policy to curtail bullyingIt’s good to see the special committee formed by the Jamestown Public School Board moving forward on a policy directed at preventing bullying in the district’s schools. Although the School Board has had a policy, the district has not. It’s encouraging to see the committee only a couple of weeks away from presenting the board with a draft policy.
It’s good to see the special committee formed by the Jamestown Public School Board moving forward on a policy directed at preventing bullying in the district’s schools. Although the School Board has had a policy, the district has not. It’s encouraging to see the committee only a couple of weeks away from presenting the board with a draft policy.
The committee is looking to model its policy after Broward County, Florida — a school district with nearly 257,000 students. Broward’s policy — encompassing 12 pages — is detailed and offers ideas that could easily be adopted here in the Northern Plains. Jamestown Public Board President Greg Allen said the Broward County policy is a good example of a well-crafted anti-bullying policy.
Suggestions for the policy from the last committee meeting here included broadening the definition of bullying, ways to report incidents to school officials and ways to keep parents notified of what goes on in schools.
The draft policy for Jamestown Public Schools will be presented at the Dec. 20 School Board meeting.
Children live parts of their lives online today and do much of their communication by texting and other digital means that can be challenging to monitor. It’s important that a policy encompasses the new methods of communication and cyberbullying, which the committee has said it is committed to accomplishing.
Bullying is a serious problem that can stay with victims for a lifetime. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice said students who have been bullied have shown poorer health, depression, social dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia and a higher rate of contemplating suicide.
North Dakota is one of five states in the nation that does not have a law on the books making bullying illegal. Jamestown has recently had parents and others at School Board meetings expressing concerns or offering suggestions related to stopping bullying.
We think the committee’s work is an important step for Jamestown Public Schools. A policy, once approved, must also be well understood by the district’s staff and patrons. More training may be necessary for educators and administrators.
If the Legislature passes a new statewide law on bullying, Jamestown will be one step ahead of the game with a comprehensive policy already completed. But whatever steps the Legislature takes — or does not — Jamestown Public Schools is moving in the right direction by developing its own policy.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)