Norton School System Takes A Stand Against Bullying
To combat bullying in schools, Norton School System works toward prevention and intervention.
Bullying is an issue that has made headlines nationally and locally, most notably with Phoebe Prince at South Hadley High School. In the case of Prince, who committed suicide after what was reported to be several months of bullying, including mental and physical abuse, the nine students involved were charged in connection with the incident.
Bullying tends to be a crime with many victims. Many of those who bully and tease others do so without realizing the hurt they are imposing on the victim. Many bully others in an attempt to fit in and be accepted themselves. Norton's Prevention and Intervention plan will serve to not only help those who have been bullied, but also to help others understand the pain caused by their actions, preventing future bullying.
The Norton School Committee in conjunction with the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) has just released a draft of their Bullying Prevention & Intervention plan to be viewed by members of the community prior to the School Committee Meeting Nov. 29, 6 p.m. The meeting will be an open forum where members of the community will be invited to contribute their thoughts and opinions on this issue.
The school recognizes that bullying is not an issue that should be swept under the rug any longer, and it's not just "kids being kids." With social media sites like Facebook and Myspace, bullying has moved from the playground to the Internet, where it is much easier for a perpetrator to bully without the negative consequences of a face to face meeting, but where the victim can feel just as harmed as if they were.
"There was no incident in Norton that prompted the Anti-Bullying initiatives...this plan and corresponding policy will help us to better address the issue here in Norton," Norton Schools Superintendant Patricia Ansay said. Ansay also said that all schools in Massachusetts will also be required to create a Bullying Prevention & Retaliation Plan by Dec. 31 of this year.
The school employees will also be participating in several education programs related to the topic. The school pledges to cater this program to their school's needs, and will re-evaluate the progress in the spring of 2011, and each year thereafter to check on the progress, providing surveys to students, parents and teachers.
A copy of the school's proposal and draft can be read online. Community members are encouraged to read the draft and attend the open forum with any questions they may have. Other comments and questions can also be answered by e-mailing the Office of the Superintendent.