NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

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NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby dgyakuboff » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:40 am

Hi everyone,

Last night I presented an anti-bullying program to the town council for a vote of confidence. It was not only well received, but they also gave me some input to help me along the way.

I want to publicly thank them for their complete support.

Now a little PR. I hope that the people who post on the forum will talk it up and pass the word out to friends, family and the young children among you. Please keep in mind that the website will launch in approx. 3 weeks, and the hotline will be active as well. The lack of self esteem can be improved for our youth by not being bullied. So please join me in helping others with a problem that can be solved.

Below is a brief statement or two pointing out the issue of bullying. As soon as the site launches, I will let the form know.


If a student is being a bully, tell them that the behavior is not acceptable. All young people should be taught to respect others and that bullying is not acceptable. Parents should talk to their children often about what goes on at school, including their friends and if they ever see or experience bullying. Parents should encourage their children not to support bullying, even by watching it, and to report it if it's happening. Depending on the situation, the student may be able to stand up to the bully, show support for the victim, or at least walk away from the bullying and report it to an adult. 

Parents of victims or of bullies can also encourage schools to have stronger anti-bullying measures, like anti-bullying campaigns, careful adult supervision of students, zero-tolerance policies, and counseling for students involved in bullying.



Thank you,

Dave Yakuboff
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby ggkrupp » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:51 am

Dave

I think this is a great initiative! One of our boys was picked on pretty incessantly a few years back (not in a Merrimack school) so I am very sensitive to the issue. That said, I hope that as you get your group off the ground you consider helping the community to define exactly what constitutes "bullying" (and maybe more importantly, what is not bullying). I think the term is overused in our society today and is in danger of becoming meaningless. In my view, someone feeling uncomfortable or offended doesn't necessarily mean that they have been bullied. In order to effectively deal with the true instances of bullying, I think it important not to water those cases down by including cases of simple impolite or rude behavior. It is a difficult problem and I applaud you for taking the initiative to do something about it. I will spread the word among those that I know.

Gary
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby RBarnes » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:06 pm

dgyakuboff wrote:Last night I presented an anti-bullying program to the town council for a vote of confidence.


Dave, why did you present this to the town council and not the school board? Bullying is a school issue and should be handled by the school board, not the town council regardless of how good your idea is.
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby lynn » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:24 am

bullying can go on in other than school locations. The school has been dealing with bullying. This will hopefully get it out to a wider audience than just the school and maybe cut down on the instances.
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby RBarnes » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:26 pm

lynn wrote:bullying can go on in other than school locations. The school has been dealing with bullying. This will hopefully get it out to a wider audience than just the school and maybe cut down on the instances.


Dave's states "encourage schools to have stronger anti-bullying measures, like anti-bullying campaigns, careful adult supervision of students, zero-tolerance policies, and counseling for students involved in bullying."

That statement specifically talks about impacts to our schools and school policies, so I would like to know Dave's reasoning for not including the school board on this since he specifically mentions impacts to school policy. If the council is going to step in and set school policy and not include any discussion with the school board I see that as very dangerous ground regardless of how good an idea this is or not.
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby lynn » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:55 pm

I was speculating on Daves motives. That may be just one of his goals and he started
here with the broad perspective and will continue to refine as he goes

but I am not the authority here = you need to send an email to Dave if you are concerned
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby dgyakuboff » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:24 pm

Hi Lynn,

You are correct in that it's a starting point and that there are no issues I have with the school board. I would like to state that I have the utmost respect for the school board and everything they do. As stated at the town council meeting, I plan to get with Marge Chafiry, which will lead to the school board presentation as well.

In closing, this is not about posturing or politics. It's about reaching out to provide a gateway to those people in need. There should be no drawing of lines, there should be no politics and no hidden agenda. I do what I can to make Merriack the best it can be. It's what I want to do to help with my money and my heart. The people who know me know I'm not about headlines, power, or the need for approval. I have served my time and resources helping the town with no regrets. Please do not turn this into a political issue. All the people with children or family would not want their children to have low esteem or issues of bullying if they could have an impact. My goal is to help just one person, if I do that, it's a success.

Please move forward with me and I thank you in advance for you help.

Dave Yakuboff


Ps I do not even have children or grandchildren in the school system, but I still support our professionals.
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby andysinnh » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:47 am

Just FYI - here is a link to the school district anti-bullying policy http://www.merrimack.k12.nh.us/files/fi ... Policy.pdf , that I believe was put in place within the past couple of years.

andy
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby RayWhipple » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:03 am

People need to remember, peer abuse is just not a school thing. It happens to adults as well...
"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves. " ~President Ronald Reagan.

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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby ggkrupp » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:34 am

andysinnh wrote:Just FYI - here is a link to the school district anti-bullying policy http://www.merrimack.k12.nh.us/files/fi ... Policy.pdf , that I believe was put in place within the past couple of years.

andy


Andy - this long policy was one of the things I was thinking about when I posted earlier in this thread to encourage Dave to consider better defining the term 'bullying.' As a School Board member, can you describe for me any conflict scenario that could NOT be interpreted as bullying under this policy?
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby andysinnh » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:29 am

ggkrupp wrote:
andysinnh wrote:Just FYI - here is a link to the school district anti-bullying policy http://www.merrimack.k12.nh.us/files/fi ... Policy.pdf , that I believe was put in place within the past couple of years.

andy


Andy - this long policy was one of the things I was thinking about when I posted earlier in this thread to encourage Dave to consider better defining the term 'bullying.' As a School Board member, can you describe for me any conflict scenario that could NOT be interpreted as bullying under this policy?

Gary - the policy is intended to be a framework of steps to be taken (in support of RSA 193-F) if a student (or teacher or administrator) feels that bullying is taking place. Aside from referring to the RSA's definition of categories of bullying, it does not define specific situations of bullying. Why? Because each situation is unique, and should be treated as such, to determine whether the actions constitute bullying or not. At the core of the policy are the defined processes to be taken for evaluation of the incident(s), which includes involvement by administrators and teachers, as well as the students and parents on both sides of the reported incident. Note that the policy not only outlines steps to be taken should an incident be determined to be bullying, but it also outlines steps to be taken should the incident be determined to NOT be bullying (such as a "false report").

As a school board member, I feel this policy puts the ultimate determination of whether bullying has occurred (or not) where it should be - in the hands of those most closely involved with the specific event.

andy
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby ggkrupp » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:13 am

andysinnh wrote:As a school board member, I feel this policy puts the ultimate determination of whether bullying has occurred (or not) where it should be - in the hands of those most closely involved with the specific event.

andy


Andy - I do not quibble with your statement here. I too think that the ultimate determination must be the result of the subjective judgement of those closest to the situation. My point was, and still is, that this policy spends a page quoting word-for-word the RSA definition of bullying which is so broad that it is useless.

As an illustration, let's say a shy child claims that a fellow student was bullying them by looking at them. This child could claim that the classmate's glances seemed like staring which was (1) causing emotional distress that (2) interfered with his educational opportunities by creating (3) a hostile educational environment. The subjective judgement of the authority figure would be put to use, as you suggest, to determine if bullying actually occurred but regardless of the determination, you can't categorize the child's report as a false one. The student's perception just met 3 tenants of the official policy definition of bullying. Whether the bullying was real or not, this policy protects that child's perception of being bullied. My point is that by including so much language in the policy to make it as specific and objective as possible, the District achieves the opposite effect. More words = more interpretations on how they apply to a given situation.

Why not just state that students and staff will not be disrespectful to one another and those that violate this policy in the subjective view of the school authorities will be punished swiftly and certainly? Add to that an appeal process to deal with mistakes and the policy would be just as effective as this one. Because that is what this policy really means, isn't it? When it comes down to it, it will be the subjective judgments of those closest to the situation that determine what is a misconception and what is actual bullying. All of the language does not help that authority test the situation to determine if it is a case of bona fide "bullying". This policy is really 10 pages of language that makes us all 'feel' better but I don't think the framework helps practically. I think what will happen is that a school official will see what we all know to be bullying in either physical or electronic terms and then step in to act (hopefully) while using the policy document to CYA. I am good with that. I am just saying that it didn't need to be 10 pages to provide the cover the staff members need to act.
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby RBarnes » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:04 pm

dgyakuboff wrote:Please do not turn this into a political issue.


The fact it went before an elected board makes it a political issue and thus should be discussed and vetted.

I'm not questioning whether or not this is a good idea, my questioning is more about duplication of efforts and whether or not out council is opening the town up to any liabilities. We already have school staff who have become familiar with the laws and the school board has had several meetings discussing not only the laws but any liabilities anti bullying measures would present.

I'm more concerned with our wasting money by duplicating efforts already done and/or opening the town (read as tax payers) up to lawsuits which would cost us even more money because of questions not asked.

But let's raise another point here, let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim in his math class is bullying him. What exactly is going to happen? Unless I'm missing something they'll just turn around and contact the school at which point the school will follow the process already in place. Am I missing something in what this gains?
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby lynn » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:33 pm

let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim in his math class is bullying him.

lets ask the question this way

let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim at the YMCA is bullying him.

or
let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim on his MYA team is bullying him.

or
let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim at Wasserman Camp is bullying him.

or
let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim his neighbor is bullying him.
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Re: NO EXCUSE FOR PEER ABUSE

Postby RBarnes » Wed Aug 22, 2012 2:22 pm

lynn wrote:let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim in his math class is bullying him.

lets ask the question this way

let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim at the YMCA is bullying him.

or
let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim on his MYA team is bullying him.

or
let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim at Wasserman Camp is bullying him.

or
let's say little Billy calls up the hotline the town set up and says little Jim his neighbor is bullying him.


Lynn those are fair questions so what would be the answer.

If they call up and say a neighbor is bullying them what exactly can the town do about it? The only law I'm aware of on the books is RSA 193 which covers bullying in schools.

If the neighbor's parent is a jerk too and just says that little Billy needs to grow up and grow a pair what can the town do?

If the bullying is in a privately run after school program like the YMCA and they say they are handling the situation but the parents of the child being bullied are unhappy with how it's being handled what exactly can the town do?

Seems to me that all this is doing is making the town into a middle man who will turn around and contact some other group or business and hope that they resolve the issue but by becoming the middleman they open themselves up for any legal lawsuits that may come from this. If I'm wrong I'd like to know how?
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