SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The School Committee held a work shop session Tuesday night, where they focused on how to improve their leadership roles and how to best develop a bullying policy for the schools.
In its discussion on how to formulate a bullying policy that is both current and flexible to future changes, the school committee discussed the possibility of actually talking with students on what goes on in their schools.
“How little of any of us understand now what it's like to be eight to 15 years old in today's world? In effective policy making in regards to bullying, we need to be out of the board room and into school groups, not from a parent's or teacher's perspective,” Dr. Anthony Mega, the vice chairperson of the committee said. “If we as a committee are committed to this as a policy, we need to work with student bodies as to understand what bullying is in today's student groups.”
Committee member Raissa Mosher agreed with Mega, citing two middle school students she knows.
“They were telling me about drugs and alcohol at the Curtis Corner Middle School. Getting with these kids in a non-threatening way will bring us information far more productive than any survey. It's critical to understanding their viewpoint,” Mosher said.
Mosher also suggested that the committee reach out to teachers, who have connections with students to work and help fight bullying.
School Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow agreed with the suggestion of speaking with students. However, she said once a month she meets with a group of students at lunch to get their feedback on school happenings.
“When I ask them about bullying, I get no response. It's as if it doesn't happen. I know I need to reframe the questions,” Stringfellow said.
Committee member Kevin Jackson suggested that they come up with a framework to define bullying.
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