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Board Members Preach Zero Tolerance on Bullying

MCCSC Superintendent J.T. Coopman and School Board President Jeannine Butler listen to final discussion on the corporation's proposed tax referendum.

Following allegations of sexual abuse at Penn State and Syracuse Universities, some members of the Monroe County School Corporation’s board want to enact a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying and harassment.

While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says incidents of child sex abuse have decreased more than 60 percent over the past two decades, MCCSC Director of Student Services Becky Rose says the school corporation has seen an increase over the last three years.

“It’s the students that need to look out for one another, so part of the training for students is going to involve teaching them what the different positions are of bullying,” Rose says. “If they’re a bystander, a bully, or a victim and then how can they respond if they’re in any of those positions.”

MCCSC Board Member Kelly Smith says as a parent and board member, he advocates a zero tolerance approach to claims of student intimidation.

“I think it’s very important that we empower students and children to come to an adult someone that they trust, to say what I’m experiencing is not comfortable to me,” he says. “I don’t like it, I feel threatened whatever it may be.”

Smith says such a policy must first must be well-defined. Staff are currently focusing on intervention and prevention methods. Rose says athletic and extra-curricular staff have already undergone additional training.

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