Superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts said, “This particular policy does give us pause” because “if you have two students at your school” who have an incident anywhere 24/7, the school must investigate. He observed, “A lot of research has been happening” to find the best curriculum.
BCSC President Chris Lowery was irked that the state places the burden to lessen bullying solely on school districts. He asked, “Was there additional state funding” to fulfill the legislation’s requirements? Burton responded, “There was not.” He also wondered if parents were mentioned in the new law. The answer was another no. Trustee Ray Call said, “They want the school to be the uber (super) police department for all the kids in town.”
Roberts pointed out, “We are fortunate to have a school resource officer (Batesville Police Department Patrolman Jamie Straber) … to help” address bullying problems.
Administrators are looking for grants to pay for the program.
Dala Vonderheide, Batesville Intermediate School emotional disabilities teacher, noted, “As we start looking at the bullying policy … and we start talking about the curriculum, I would just like to remind you we have two schools in this corporation that are currently without counselors.”
Trustee Wanita Linkel asked, “Why have we not hired counselors?” Roberts noted when Thomas Barnett, the counselor at Batesville Primary School and BIS, resigned in January, he was not replaced. “As we made a variety of (personnel) changes, we believed the four administrators (two principals and two associate principals at those schools) could meet those needs.”
Linkel questioned if those educators have counseling training. Roberts said BIS associate principal Patricia Johnson, the former BIS counselor, “definitely does.” BPS associate principal Suzanne Kunkel has 21 years of experience in her current role, according to him.
“I’m sure there are issues (students face) ... across the corporation. I have not been notified of us failing” to meet counseling needs. He said problems have not been brought to his attention.