Sibley-Ocheyedan school district opens up discussion on bullying policy
Parents suggest solutions to bullying problems in front of the board.
SIBLEY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Whether it be online, in the hallways, or on the school bus, school districts nationwide have been grappling with the issue of bullying.
Sibley-Ocheyedan is one of those districts.The school board decided to expel two 8th grade football players in November for allegedly pinning down a teammate and taking a suggestive photo.
On Monday night, the board opened up the issue for public comment for the first time since the incident.
"I thought it was important to come out today to make sure the school is addressing policies and procedures for our children and for further protection," Sibley-Ocheyedan parent Lucinda Heinrichs said.
Heinrichs' son was on the school bus where the bullying incident that led to the temporary expulsion of two students happened. She advocated for more staff involvement and wants students to feel like they can talk about these kinds of situations.
"We need to come together and make sure they can report without getting reprimanded or bullied," Heinrichs said.
Some members of the community who don't have children in the school district still felt it was important for their voices to be heard.
"Since that incident, I've received a lot of notice in the community and around the region. I don't think Sibley-Ocheyedan has to stop with the minimum that they think might pass as anti-bullying, anti-harassment legislation, they can make it even tougher," said State Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan.
During the school board meeting, superintendent Bill Boer addressed some ways he hopes to tackle the issue. He said the board is in the process of reviewing the policy manual and the administration has reviewed the complaint forms.
"I hope that people took away that we're going to address the issue and we're going to move forward. Right now, we're garnering ideas and input," Boer said.
But, will they be able to rid the district of bullying completely?
"I don't know if there's a realistic answer to end it completely everywhere," Boer said.
But, some parents are certainly hoping they do.
The superintendent said this is just the beginning of their review process on the bullying policy and they will be looking into their options further.
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