Bullying report heard by school board

Statistics on harassment, bullying and bullying were presented at a recent Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

JACKSON — School board members recently listened to Director of Safety Raymond Milewski’s presentation regarding harassment, bullying, and bullying (HIB) as well as incidents of violence in the school district.

Schools are required to take action if students report that they are being bullied. Since 2011, each school district has been required to designate a person in the district as the primary contact regarding the anti-harassment, bullying, and bullying (HIB) policy. To qualify for something registered as HIB, the victim must be targeted because of something like race or sexual orientation.

Milewski said the HIB report spanned September 2021 through December 2021. His slide presentation featured the names of all anti-bullying specialists assigned to each of the school district’s 10 schools.

He noted that there were HIB prevention assemblies at every school and grade level as well as classroom lessons and grade level activities. “Character education, peer mediations, morning announcements, school spirit days, character education groups, social-emotional learning, character education, diversity and District-wide equity and suicide prevention education is underway.”

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He noted that the school district’s return to in-person learning versus remote learning “definitely had an impact on our numbers.”

“I went back to 2018-19 which was our last non-COVID year. For comparison, the total number of suspected incidents was 21 in 2018-19, compared to 14 for this reporting period,” Milewski said.

He also went back to that same pre-COVID school year to look at the number of confirmed HIBs. “That number was two, which is similar to what is for this reporting period,” he added.

Milewski reported on secondary schools saying, “We had three suspected HIBs in 2020, compared to 10 in 2021. One confirmed HIB in 2020, 10 confirmed HIBs in 2021 and in 2018-2019 and our total number of suspected HIBs was 11. I looked at our confirmed total which was five.

In regards to confirmed HIBS, there were seven incidents involving personal appearance as a motivator, inappropriate comments came to three with sexual orientation or gender being the subject of two incidents.

“Some of the consequences implemented were parent/student conferences, out-of-school suspensions, in-school suspensions. Some of the remedial measures used were counseling and mediation,” he added.

“The location of the HIB incidents investigated had 24 of them located on school grounds. Six of them occurred on school buses. Five of the incidents were cell phone or internet related and one incident occurred outside of school grounds,” Milewski added.

He described some of the HIB incident classifications, including offensive text messages, name calling and offensive comments. “We’ve seen a bit of a change with social media with inappropriate comments, images, the spread of rumors and some of the more typical incidents with kicking and pushing.”

Moving on to incidents of vandalism, violence and substance abuse, Milewski said, for the same reporting period as the HIB presentation, “what you will notice, what seems to be a big increase in the number of incidents. I would like remind everyone that these numbers do not give an accurate picture of what is really happening in our district.

Milewski pointed out, “We returned to in-person learning in September 2021, which obviously impacted our numbers. In the area of ​​violence in 2018, we reported 10 violent incidents, five incidents of vandalism, 39 incidents of HIB, one incident with a weapon and for substance abuse cases there were a total of 23.”

He said: “There were 16 HIBs at primary school level, up from two HIBs in 2018-19. At high schools in the school district, there have been a total of five fights, two simple assaults, three incidents of threats, no incidents of sexual offenses, and 20 suspected and confirmed cases of HIB.

“Comparing 2018-2019, there were a total of four fights, five simple assaults, three incidents involving threats, no sexual offenses and 15 total cases of HIB, alleged and confirmed. Our numbers sort of match what we typically see in the district,” Milewski concluded.

Regarding vandalism and substance abuse, Milewski reported, “There was one report of vandalism that was reported at Liberty High School. There were no incidents at any of the other schools. In 2018-2019, there were had seven incidents of vandalism.

With respect to cases under the influence, “there were four incidents involving marijuana, zero alcohol, zero prescription drugs, suspected substance but subject refused examination, zero, substance possession there was one incident with marijuana. Two cases of drug paraphernalia and zero cases of unauthorized drugs,” Milewski said.

Compared to 2018-2019, Milewski said, “Our marijuana cases were 14, zero alcohol, one prescription drug case, zero suspected/denied drug exams, seven marijuana possession cases, zero drug paraphernalia cases, four alcohol cases and two unauthorized prescription drug cases.

Photo by Bob Vosseller

There were three weapons offenses for the current reporting period, all of which occurred at Liberty High School and, in comparison, in 2018-19 there was one incident involving a weapon.

For this reporting period regarding actions taken by the school district, “there were 12 incidents where the police were notified. There were no incidents in which the police were notified and a complaint was filed. In school suspensions there was one. Out-of-school suspensions there were 24.

“Compared to 2020, all were zero. The out-of-school suspension was just one. Compared to 2018-2019, there were eight incidents where police were notified and 11 incidents where police were notified and a complaint was filed, nine in-school suspensions and 41 out-of-school suspensions” , did he declare.

Milewski said there were 23 student offenders, “five student victims, there was one on staff. With respect to out-of-school suspensions, last summer the Jackson School District revised the Discipline Protocol for Suspected Student Substance Abuse to reduce the number of suspension days and put the emphasis on the help students really need.

He added that the data gathered from the report would be reviewed for program improvements and for program updates and that a strong and ongoing relationship with the Jackson Police Department would continue.

Superintendent Nicole Pormilli also discussed a safety grant the school district received. “It will improve our public address (PA) systems in our schools.”