RSU 29 schools are not kidding around when it comes to implementing the state’s new bullying policy. Superintendent Mike Hammer says the new document has all schools in the district focusing on areas that haven’t specifically been targeted before.
Mike Hammer, RSU 29 Superintendent says, “Gender identity, socioeconomic status, a lot of those things that people say they’re mean to each other about that now may fall into bullying.”
The new policy also puts a big emphasis on cyber-bullying, meaning anything on the internet or social media that might not take place at school. The district formed a sub-committee to crack down on the rules, and inform the school board of the progress. Hammer stresses that the school’s new policies are NOT the result of any one incident.
Hammer says, “My message would be that the culture of schools need to change and how students interact with each other and we’re trying proactive things.”
Each school now has a bullying report form, a bullying investigation form, and a form and a form to document any actions that were taken..so from now on, they’ll have every incident on file.”
Marty Bouchard, Houlton High School’s Principal says, “It used to be that kids would report it and if they reported it to one person then they might report it to a different person and it might get lost in the shuffle now its certainly going to get recorded.”
Bouchard says they’re doing their best to keep every student safe both physically and emotionally – he thinks students will respond well to the new policy.
“They have a pretty good understanding and we feel that the climate is pretty good here and we have a pretty good relationship with our kids that they can talk to if its guidance or administration,” he says.
The district’s bullying committee will meet monthly – they’re going to develop a rubric for handling situations. And Hammer says he and the committee understand it’s not going to change things overnight.