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Currituck school board to form anti-bullying panel

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

CURRITUCK — Currituck school officials are hoping a new committee will come up with ideas for stopping bullying in the county schools.

During a review of the school district’s policy on discrimination, harassment and bullying at a work session last week, Currituck Board of Education Chairman Bill Dobney suggested the board form a new committee to address bullying. Saying a concerted effort is needed countywide, Dobney said he’d like the panel to study and then recommend anti-bullying initiatives.

Board member Janet Rose called formation of an anti-bullying panel a great first step. She noted she has heard about cases of students being bullied, some of them severe. She’s also heard that some students are afraid to step forward and report bullying, she said.

"I think we need to be proactive with this," Rose said. “It's a serious thing."

Lauren Woods, co-adviser of the Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter at J.P. Knapp Early College High School, said school handbooks addressing bullying need to be more consistent. Some schools, including Moyock Middle School, clearly define bullying in their handbook, outlining the consequences students will face if they engage in it, Woods said. But some other schools’ handbooks offer little information about bullying and do not list consequences, she said.

Being clear about consequences is important, Woods said. She also believes students respond to clearly articulated consequences. 

Rose suggested schools need to "put an emphasis on (bullying) all the way around."

"I think we need to put some meat into what we're doing with this," she said.

Board member Will Crodick said he likes the idea of older students mentoring younger ones, which was one of the approaches Woods suggested. He also said he’d like too see a consistent anti-bullying policy countywide and at all grade levels.

Crodick also would like to see students sign an oath that they won't engage in bullying and report it if they see it.

Dobney said the committee’s membership should include school counselors, parents, student school board members, an adviser for the SADD program and a student member of SADD.

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