Rochester Middle School bullying specialist to be first of kind in district

Forward thinking Rochester School Board members have taken proactive steps to confront bullying before the school year begins. The creation of a student safety and behavior support specialist in Rochester will be the first of its kind since the Governor’s new cyberbullying legislation passed. Reports of bullying are submitted by students using traditional paper and pencils forms. The forms will then be investigated by the support specialist. Looking at the school district’s web site I couldn’t find evidence of the reporting form or an online reporting system that would allow students to send in an anonymous report. Without an online reporting system in place, schools rely heavily on students taking the time to complete a report in the front office, while under the watchful gaze of their peers. The threat of retaliation keeps many students from completing a traditional report form.

Article excerpt:

By SAMANTHA ALLEN
sallen@fosters.com
Saturday, July 14, 2012

ROCHESTER — The School Board voted unanimously Thursday to hire a “student safety and behavior support specialist” to address bullying and harassment at the Rochester Middle School, to be the first ever of its kind in the district, according to Principal Valerie McKenney.

McKenney said before the meeting, the position is one she crafted with the district this year after several complaints came forward from the community regarding student behavior issues.

Superintendent Michael Hopkins told the board on Thursday the middle school administration will still meet with parents to address behavioral issues with students, but the specialist will work to investigate initial complaints that come in from students.

“Aside from dealing with all the initial reports,” he added, “(the specialist) can really focus on what we call ‘red zone’ students.”

Read more…

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