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School board to review bullying policy; may include cyberbullying provisions

Friday, September 7, 2007 | 6:00 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia School Board members will review updates to the district’s policy on bullying and hazing recommended by the Missouri School Board Association during a Monday night meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett said the district is a member of the the association and follows the recommendations of its policy department.

“We’re just updating based on their recommendations,” Barnett said.

The Board of Education Policy Committee that includes David Ballenger, Karla DeSpain and Darin Preis reviewed the proposed additions, which include requirements for the superintendent to provide training for employees and volunteers to identify, prevent and respond to bullying and hazing.

The proposed changes also include explanations of cyber threats and cyberbullying, which is defined as sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices.

Barnett said the district will not change the way it addresses bullying or hazing. It will simply update the policy’s wording. She said the district already had consequences for cyberbullying and instructing volunteers and employees about bullying.

The district prohibits all forms of hazing, bullying and student intimidation, according to the policy. The school’s principle is supposed to investigate all complaints of bullying and hazing are to be investigated and administers discipline if necessary.

The board adopted the district’s current policy in May 2006 after the Missouri General Assembly passed a law that year requiring districts to adopt an anti-bullying policy.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the administration building at 1818 W. Worley St.


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