Oskaloosa School Board studies bullying policy
by Dennis Sharkey
Bullying in schools has received a lot of national attention recently and local administrators want to make sure they’re not part of the story.
Last month Oskaloosa USD 341 board members reviewed their bullying policy that was instituted three years ago.
“We felt like it would be important to review our current policies in place to make sure they were still relevant and were still effective,” Superintendent Jon Pfau said last week.
No actions were taken or proposed. Pfau said board members felt like the policy is relevant and meets state requirements.
However, Pfau said dusting off the policy and putting it away is not the plan and that ongoing training is a process administrators, teachers and staff go through.
Pfau also said that more educating outside the classroom for students is also becoming more of a focus. The school’s resource officer has and will conduct programs mostly aimed at elementary aged students. Most of the programs on bullying are intertwined with the DARE program. Counselors also utilize a program called positive behavior systems.
Teachers and staff are sent to state training and then bring back that training to share with everyone else. But local training also involves a group process. Pfau said teachers and staff are encouraged to talk about issues and the group talks about solutions.
Pfau said that prevention of bullying is key, but also having the proper response when bullying is occurring is also important.
“Any time you’re working through a student issue you want to get all the facts and get both sides of the story,” he said.
The other key to a proper response is properly communicating with the families about what is going on after the facts are known. Part of the process is also getting other agencies involved if necessary.
“I think communication and fact-finding are paramount any time you’re working through one of those issues,” he said.
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