The second and final reading of a Batesville Community School Corp. bullying policy was approved by trustees after discussion Oct. 21. It aligns with Indiana’s revised bullying legislation, enacted July 1.
“We have already had some training with some certified staff members,” reported superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts. State legislators have broadened the scope so that “bullying issues that take place off the school grounds can now lead to discipline at school” if administrators learn of the incident.
The process is defined: “If a staff member observes bullying, it must be reported to administrators within one school day,” he explained. An administrator must conduct a full investigation and submit a report to director of student learning Melissa Burton.
Trustee Dr. Steve Stein asked about a bus driver’s responsibility. Roberts said it is similar to the responsibility a teacher faces. Training for classified staffers, including drivers, aides and cafeteria workers, was slated for Oct. 24. Stein wondered if employees are supposed to intervene while harassment is occurring. The superintendent answered that the problem should be reported, then the administrator would become the interventionist.
BCSC President Chris Lowery questioned, “What if someone witnesses physical harm?” Roberts said students would be separated. He reflected, “We’ve always been responsible for student behavior. Bullying .. is very specific … inappropriate behavior … We need to intervene and report to administrators to see if further discipline is required.” The school official must decide if an incident is categorized as bullying. If so, it must be reported to the Indiana Department of Education. “Hopefully, we’re just sharpening our skills …. We’re not asking our teachers to decide if it’s bullying or not.”
Stein reminded that the policy’s definition of bullying includes Internet messages.
Research is being done before BCSC leaders decide on a mandated anti-bullying curriculum for students in grades 1-12.