I live on a one-way street that's also a dead end. I'm not sure how I got there.
- Steven Wright
It's been a while since I wrote about the bullying that went on at our middle school. If you will recall, en eighth grade boy with autism was bullied to the point where his parents felt the need to pull him out of school, with the school officials seemingly unwilling to intervene. The story made the front page of the local paper and sparked a firestorm that prompted the Superintendent and the School Board to adopt measures to address the situation.
You can read my previous posts on this situation:
This is what has happened since last November:
The local chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute came in and did workshops for each middle school grade. They also worked with the district staff. On February 18, they will hold a workshop for parents called "Raising Children Who Care About Themselves and the People around Them" As listed on the Hellgate web page, This interactive workshop will help parents learn effective skills when confronted with prejudicial questions, comments, and actions.
It is my understanding that this will be the last involvement of NCBI at Hellgate. The district staff will be dealing with anti-bullying programs in the primary and intermediate buildings.
Also, each building at Hellgate established parent-advisory committees. I cannot speak for how the middle school decided who would serve on their committee. I do know that in the primary school, the principal solicited volunteers to serve.
In the intermediate school, where my two older children attend, the committee was hand picked by the principal, unless you called and expressed interest. No general call was issued. I find this to be really disturbing, and a way to "pack" the committee with "yes" people.
I was unable to attend the last two school board meetings, so I am not really sure how much was discussed with regards to bullying. I have checked the minutes of the January meeting (the February minutes are not posted as of this writing), and all that was mentioned for the January meeting was that the PTA was working with NCBI to do the parent training occurring February 18. Was this all that was said? Who knows. These notes tend to be generic, and tend to leave out some things that occur.
My suspicion is that the School Board will hear the results of the NCBI parent training at the March 8 meeting.
And that will be the end of it. The school will have addressed the bullying issue, in their opinion.
But will that opinion be shared by the parents of the Hellgate School System? Personally, I think the parents need to know what future measures, if any, the school district will do - one set of lectures and programs will not make the issue go away.
There are also two instances of kids with autism being pulled out of Hellgate because of bullying that have been made public. Will anything be done to address this? Remember, Hellgate has focused on bullying as a whole, but not necessarily how it affects the unique special education culture. Perhaps they talked about this at the February Board meeting...
One can only hope.
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