Policy to combat bullying gets OKThere was a brief round of applause and congratulations among Jamestown Public School Board members at Monday’s meeting after the anti-bullying policy was adopted and implemented.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
There was a brief round of applause and congratulations among Jamestown Public School Board members at Monday’s meeting after the anti-bullying policy was adopted and implemented.
“It passes — finally. Congratulations,” said board President Greg Allen.
There has been discussion on creating an anti-bullying policy since October of last year.
There was some debate and a few amendments to change wording in the policy before it passed unanimously.
Heidi Larson, board member, was quick to point out it’s a working policy and changes can and will be made depending on how it works out.
“This is a policy and a policy is a working policy,” Larson told guidance chair Donette Rasmussen. “The sooner you bring it back the better.”
Rasmussen was there to address one area of the debate, confidentiality.
“We did make some changes and we are OK with how it’s worded now because it’s not so black and white,” she told the board.
School Board members Roy Musland and Shelly Jystad still suggested some changes to the confidentiality section to tighten the wording up and eliminate some redundancies.
“We’re going to support you in doing your job,” Musland said to Rasmussen.
Gail Martin, board member, also recommended some changes on the form that would be submitted after an incident, removing “on or off school property” from the choices.
“We certainly want to do all we can as a district but we can’t police the world,” Allen said.
Now that the policy is in place there are still a few loose ends to tie up, said Superintendent Bob Toso.
The district will mail the policy out to parents and it will be placed online. Toso also will send it to attorneys for additional review.
“I’d say adopt it first and I’ll send it in,” he said.
Rep. Lyle Hanson, D-Jamestown, will also get a copy of the policy because he proposed an anti-bullying bill in the Legislature.
Even though the policy is implemented, there is still that pending legislation, and the newly adopted Jamestown policy will be reviewed at a later date to make sure it’s compliant.
Toso also still needs to meet with the student council at the high school to discuss the policy.
The School Board also discussed a potential tool for training all approximate 330 staff members on bullying and harassment.
Toso and business manager Sally Ost proposed entering a three-year contract with Coastal eLearning Systems for online training through five separate programs.
“We would get documentation of training people have completed,” he said.
The cost would be $11,600 for the first year, $5,400 for the second and $5,100 for the third year.
Vice president, Tanya Ostlie had concern on what would happen to the cost after the third year and if it would jump back up to more than $11,000.
Musland also wanted to know the cost to obtain all 100-plus programs or modules so the district has more choices for administering training.
“It would be good if we could get some additional information,” Allen said.
The issue was placed on the agenda for the next meeting.
In other news, the School Board allowed administration to start accepting bids for an electrical project to take place over the summer at Lincoln Grade School. Toso called it the “top priority,” because the building is in need of a larger power supply. He estimated the cost at more than $25,000.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com