Central High takes on bullying

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Oct 11, 2012 - 8:50:55 AM

(Editor’s Note: This is the final installment of a two-part series recognizing National Bullying Prevention Month.)
Regardless of the size of the district, Oklahoma schools tend to have similar policies when it comes to bullying. Central High is no different.
“Any student or staff member at Central High found violating the school’s bullying policy will be subject to an immediate suspension from school for a minimum of three days. The student’s parents or guardians will be notified,” the Central High student handbook states.
“A mandatory conference will then be held with the parents, student and administration of the school. Police, youth services, child welfare services, and other agencies may be contacted as well.”
Administrators at each individual school are the first ones to administer discipline regarding bullying before it would take the next step of going to the superintendent or school board.
“Anytime (bullying) is reported and administrators are told, we follow the district policy and investigate it,” said high school principal Mark Perry. “A lot of times people don’t want their names involved so we may get written statements about it. It doesn’t matter who reports it, we investigate it.”
Perry said Central High has very few problems with bullying, but it does exist at every school regardless of how big or how small the school may be.
“Usually when a parent comes in to talk about a child being bullied, it is the first time I’ve heard about it. No one at the school was told about it.”
Small schools do have an advantage in that staff can more easily see when any type of harassment is going on.
“Any system is only as good as the people in them and they do something about it,” Perry said. “It just simply could be reporting something they have seen. They don’t have to be directly involved with it. Things here are pretty good. Sometimes no one wants to be a ‘rat’ and nobody’s kids are perfect.
“We try to nip it in the bud before it becomes too bad. We try to stay aware all year. Last year, we had different programs. We always talk to the students about doing the right thing. We tell them to make a better choice. It all about choices.”
The subject is taking up at the elementary level as well.
“The counselors talk to the grade school students several times a year about being aware of what is going on,” Perry said.
Bullying has become more complicated in the era of electronics and social media.
“I’ve suspended students over what they have said to another student, physically bullied them, texted each other, and threats written on paper,” Perry said.
Another complication is during the school year administrators are responsible for discipline regardless of whether the event happened at school or not. If one student texts something threatening to another student at home on a Saturday night, the student who was threatened can come into school on Monday morning, show the text, and the school would be responsible for taking care of it.
“I can’t say I agree with that, but it is what it is,” Perry said.
Walking the halls is one of the best lines of defense for the staff.
“Just walking up and down the halls, and talking with the students we hear a lot of things,” Perry said. “The more you hear, the better you can control things.”

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