Bullying Policy Being Updated, Modernized At Trimble

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It has been nearly eight years since the bullying policy for Trimble Local School District has seen an update, but that is likely to change in the coming weeks.

As part of the review of many of the district’s policies taking place over the summer break and following last week’s special board of education meeting, the district’s bullying policy will likely have a new look soon.

The proposed bullying policy was provided to the Messenger on Monday by Trimble Supt. Kim Jones. The proposal follows a template developed by NEOLA of Ohio in September of 2013. It would replace the district’s current policy which was last revised in December of 2006.

Changes as part of the proposed policy include addition of details, updates with current laws and technology.

“The bullying policy is being strengthened to reflect the current state of legislation and responsibility,” said Jones.

The policy perviously addressed only “aggressive behavior,” but the new policy takes it a step further, adding harassment, intimidation and other forms of bullying.

One major change in the proposed policy is with regard to the reporting and documenting of investigations into bullying. Under the new policy, the building principal or appropriate administrator shall prepare a written report of the investigation upon completion. The report shall include findings of fact, a determination of whether acts of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying were verified, and, when prohibited acts are verified, a recommendation for intervention, including disciplinary action shall be included in the report.

The superintendent will also be required to provide a report, at least semi-annually, provide the president of the board a written summary of all reported incidents and post the summary on the district website. The listing shall include the number of verified acts of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying, whether in the classroom, on school property, to and from school, or at school-sponsored events.

The policy, along with a complaint against a public employee, official, license or student, were the subject of last week’s five-hour special meeting of the Trimble Local Board of Education.

At that meeting Middle School Principal Danita Glenn spoke of the current bullying policy. While there is a written policy on the district’s website, that policy is not directly written in the student handbook.

According to discussions during the meeting, the district administrators have spent the past few days reviewing all district policies to “update and modernize” each one. A review and update of administrative procedures is also taking place.

Following Thursday’s meeting, Trimble Local Board of Education President Erica North stated that the policy meets all of the state requirements, but that it was time to review the policies.

North would not comment on the nature of the complaint which was being investigated by the board or who the complaint involved.

When speaking of the complaint that prompted last week’s special board of education meeting, Jones stated, “I learned of the concern being discussed in executive session through the normal course of events at school.”

When specifically asked whether the complaint involved a student(s) or teacher(s), Jones further stated by email that, “Since the board took it into executive session, I don’t feel at liberty to say” who the complaint involved.

The revised policy will be sent to the school board for approval at a later date.