SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Many see bullying as just a part of growing up. Yet, kids are not just being stuffed into lockers anymore or given swirlies in a toilet, but are tormented online through social media, which they cannot escape from. With tormented children increasingly committing suicide after months of harassment from their peers, this playground staple seems to be much more than simple growing pains. While many school districts struggle to combat the bullying issue and to develop an adequate bullying policy, the South Kingstown school district is doing all it can to make sure they never lose a student to bullying.
“There’s always going to be drama with 1,100 kids in one building, but we know how to handle it,” Robert McCarthy, South Kingstown High School Principal said. “I’m impressed on the whole with the way kids are able to address the situations and it’s rare that we have things fester.”
In its current bullying policy, the South Kingstown school district defines bullying as assault, threatening, battery, stalking, menacing, intimidation, extortion, humiliation or taunting behavior. It involves the intimidation of others through the real or threatened infliction of physical, verbal, written, electronic, or emotional abuse. It is a deliberate, hurtful behavior that is often repeated over a period of time and it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.
Consequences for bullying in South Kingstown schools include both educational and disciplinary means. Educational consequences are designed to develop awareness of actions taken and their consequences on others and to develop the ability to act alternatively. Disciplinary actions are designed to communicate the prohibition against proscribed behavior, to safeguard the victim, and to reinforce the importance of educational interventions. Disciplinary actions include warnings and counseling, parent contact and conference and loss of privileges and participation including transportation, social and extracurricular activities and recess. After the initial warning is given, if a child is caught bullying a second time, the school will notify police.
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