Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Tool Aimed at Attacking Bullying in Hudson Scheduled for Deployment October 31

Guest Post by Dave Lipinski

Keeping students safe is a primary goal of the Hudson Community School District.  In all honesty this has become more of a challenge as technology has advanced.  Once upon a time students had face to face communication and written notes as methods of communication for all things positive and negative.  Use of the telephone was typically limited to positive interactions.

Today school staff, parents and the police are often involved in student to student harassment and bullying that is increasingly electronic and pervasive.  The proliferation of social media and the coinciding eroding social norms regarding behavior that is socially acceptable has made it easier to be mean.

There is no question that schools today are required by the state to attend very closely to matters considered to be in the realm of bullying or harassment.  For years Hudson has provided staff and students alike training in everything from appropriate conflict management to how to report concerns of bullying and harassment.

Unlike something as obvious as vandalism, harassment/bullying is often a much more difficult situation to prove.  There are many factors such as determining the relationships of students involved, intent of actions and pervasiveness of the behavior.  One thing that is for sure and difficult to bring to light is the differences that exist between each situation we become aware of.  Frankly, we can only do something when we know about it and most people think we know more than we do.  Students are not prone to misbehave while a staff member is listening or watching.

In an effort to take advantage of the technology available to us and to do everything we think we can to deter or stop bullying/harassing behavior the school will be implementing a new tool for anyone with credible concerns or information to use.  It is called a Google Form and is basically an electronic method to provide the school with information.  The information provided will be confidential to administrative staff only.  Anonymous forms are not encouraged and may result in being ignored unless critical.  Investigations require speaking with actual people and hence identification is an important aspect of this reporting method.

The link will be “live” on the school website for all grade levels starting October 31.  Students in grades 4-12 will receive information about this method.  Of course it is still preferable for reports to come to a school staff member, however we readily acknowledge that sometimes it is timely and best for information to come when a person is able and ready.

Anyone wishing to learn more about how Hudson works to prevent, investigate and remedy bullying/harassment may contact any school administrator.

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