By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District will develop means for students and parents to anonymously report instances of bullying, according to a statement posted on the district’s website on Monday afternoon.
That statement was posted under the heading “TPSD’s 2010-2011 Anti-Bullying Plan.” It comes after last week’s controversy in which a Facebook video showed one Tupelo student kick another one in the head at a bus stop.
The statement said the district was publishing the plan “in response to community concerns.” TPSD Director of Public Relations Kay Bishop said the district had already been developing the plan to comply with a new state law mandating all school districts to update bullying policies.
As part of Tupelo’s plan, the district is developing a system where individuals can anonymously report bullying via online drop boxes, a phone hotline and physical boxes located at each school.
“We’re trying to be proactive,” Bishop said.
The plan also calls for all faculty and staff to participate in additional training in maintaining safe schools. Administrators will participate in that training and then bring it back to their staff members. The training will be done as part of crisis management training already required of administrators but will be updated to include cyber-bullying, among other things.
Citing student privacy, Bishop said she could not say how the student or students involved in the bullying episode at the bus stop have been disciplined.
“I can assure you that the proper disciplinary actions were taken,” Bishop said. “Maintaining a safe and quality learning environment is one of our top priorities.”
The district will kick off an anti-bullying campaign in October, which is anti-bullying month, Bishop said.
An episode of bullying has three identifying characteristics, according to the plan posted on the district’s website:
– A power difference between the individual being bullied and the bully.
– A negative intent on the part of the bully
to hurt, embarrass or humiliate the other.
– Repeated behavior – with others, with the same person and/or with the same person over time.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.