No Changes to D159 Bullying Policy—Yet
The Mokena School District 159 Board of Education heard from MJHS Principal Mike Rolinitis and parent Heidi Yergler Herrmann on the district's bullying policy, but held off on any changes.
After months of urging the Mokena School District 159 Board of Education to confront the issue of bullying within its schools, Heidi Yergler Herrmann got her wish. At the Wednesday, July 18, board meeting the Herrmann, Mokena Junior High School Principal Mike Rolinitis and the board reviewed the district's bullying policies.
Although there was no action taken on the subject—yet—all of the board members, Rolinitis and Herrmann agreed that the discussion was a fruitful one.
Rolinitas kicked off the discussion by defining several terms on bullying and outlining what procedures the district currently has in place in its student handbook to deal with bullying. He added that the key component in the district for dealing with bullying is first, and foremost, prevention.
“We try to make it so it's not the culture, it's not acceptable in this culture to be a bully,” Rolinitis said. “Where it's OK for another kid to tell another student who's a bully, 'That's not OK. It's not OK to be a bully.”
He added that last year, within the district, there were only four incidents of bullying recorded.
“When you see that, you go 'that doesn't sound quite right,'” Rolinitis said. “There was probably a little bit more than that going on.”
Following Rolinitis, Herrman took a few minutes to address the board and share her findings on the subject, including copies of handbooks from other school districts. She also said that she and Rolinitis agreed that there needs to be a simpler process for reporting incidents and better communication between, students, parents, faculty and the district.
“Some of these complaints are being sent to a teacher, to a sub,to a social worker, they're kind of all over the board,” Herrmann said. “I want to recap by saying having a central location on the web where the form is it goes to one person, or a group of people, so it doesn't get lost in someone's email.”
The board members all agreed with the presentation by Rolinitis and Herrmann, and decided that the matter should go before the Parent Teacher Advisory Committee at its Aug. 18 meeting. If the committee finds any changes or adjustments need to be made to the district's policies, they will forward their findings to the board of education, who would then discuss and vote on the matter.
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