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Lanesboro parents and school contend with bullying

Fri, Jun 19th, 2009
Posted in Education

Over 30 concerned parents and community members packed into a small office in the Lanesboro Public School Thursday, June 18 to share their opinions and worries on the topic of bullying. Although there were many other items on the agenda for the school board meeting-including proposing a virtual school and the recognizing of golf and track students-the portion of time for comments was moved to the beginning, making it the predominate focus of the meeting.

Kelly Jean Ohl, an involved parent, was there to speak on behalf of a Lanesboro family with three children who are considering moving out of the district due to bullying issues. "I personally feel that our community is failing if all of our children don't feel safe in school." She pointed out that it was clear previous methods of bully control weren't working, and she voiced the question many parents were asking: "Where do we go from here so that another family doesn't feel that their only option to keep our family safe is to leave the community?"

After Ohl's opening statements, other parents and residents discussed their feelings on the subject, including the current discipline for bullying (It varies case per case.), and when exactly parents or guardians should be notified of the problem.

After a meeting last spring on the same topic, the school board, along with the school administration implemented a series of programs to prevent and inform elementary school students about bullying.

"We have a wonderful brand, and we're doing everything we can to not tarnish that brand," said David Ruen on what the school was doing to stop the problem.

One concerned parent brought up the idea of having an annual or bi-annual meeting for parents to come in and discuss the current culture of the school, which many others seemed interested in.

Another idea that was brainstormed was installing security cameras in the school, although the school board said the idea has already been looked in to, and without audio, they were very limited on what can be done to stop the bullying.

"Based on everything I've heard, I think there's been a lot of good, open comments and I thank you as a board for hearing us, in hope that you will just really open up and encourage the parents to be able to come and know things are going to be done, and they can be a part of the planning and be a part of building the programs that are needed in order that our children are going to grow up to be well, healthy, happy citizens... We have two victims in every situation that has to be recognized. It has to be, because until people stop pointing the finger and saying "bad child, good child", there's never going to be a healthy situation," one parent eloquently spoke.

A follow-up meeting will be announced at a later date, although it will almost definitely be held sometime later this summer. Parents who are interested in attending should look for the dates on the school website or on the fall newsletter to be sent out later this summer.

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