Friday, November 8, 2013

Superintendent's Remarks From Bullying Assembly

Good morning and welcome to our Anti-Bullying assembly designed to promote positive behaviors through the promotion of student advocacy and empowering our young people to be ‘Up Standers’ rather than ‘By Standers’. We are thankful that friends from our conference schools have taken time from their busy schedule to be with us today.

Much appreciation goes to Iowa Department of Education Director, Dr. Brad Buck for agreeing to join us for this event. We are honored to welcome you back to Hudson and look forward to your leadership. Congratulations on your recent appointment to Department Director! Please know that you are always welcomed to come home to Hudson!

I would also like to acknowledge the fine work and leadership exhibited by the National Honor Society in planning today’s event, in particular Alyssa Klahsen, Emma Widner, Peyton Higgins and Jason Hawkins. On Monday I had the privilege of accompanying this outstanding group of student leaders to the Governor’s Second Annual Conference on Bullying titled “Mission Possible”. Our event here this morning epitomizes the theme we heard on Monday, that schools cannot do this work alone and that our student body must serve as the catalyst for a change in culture that allows all students to attend school in a safe environment.

After our screening of the movie “Bully” these student leaders took initiative and approached their teachers and counselors, wanting to make this a priority issue for the National Honor Society. While this gathering today is no doubt a culminating event, I encourage you to view it not as a capstone whereas we all go back to our daily routines at its conclusion—but rather as a call to action. This is your school. Own it!

Now, we do believe that we have some of the most comprehensive bullying and harassment policies in the entire state. Our policy includes education, remediation, investigation, and consequences. I am thankful for the fortitude our Board of Directors exhibits in the application of these policies, and am grateful for the work of our administrators and teachers resolving cases of bullying. The fact is I am quite certain that any one of you in the audience today can probably recite our bullying policies chapter and verse. Furthermore, I am confident that you all are aware of our expectations, and fully understand those ramifications. You are probably aware of instances where the full force of these policies has been brought to bear. From this, one could possibly surmise that Hudson is indeed a Bully Free Zone. But yet, in spite of those policies we know that not to be the case. If it were, the finality of Board Policy Code No. 104 would never be invoked.

The fact is that no policy, threat, consequence, or anything that the adults in our district do can stop bullying. There will always be that one time when we are looking in the wrong direction, or when the target doesn’t report it.  

Indeed our policies are important tools in our arsenal of defense and we will continue to vigorously apply them. But yet the most powerful weapon we have isn’t these policies—it’s you. Because when I am not looking, you probably are.

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