Mokena SD 159 still working on bullying policy
BY GINGER BRASHINGER Correspondent September 21, 2012 8:54PM
Updated: October 24, 2012 6:34AM
The Mokena School District 159 Board is considering adding information on its bullying policy to the district’s handbook this year, but board members have not agreed on the processes for reporting and handling complaints.
Supt. Steve Stein said forms to file complaints would be available in both electronic and paper versions at each of the district’s school buildings, which drew an objection from board President Patrick Markham.
”The board direction was an electronic online form. This is not that,” Markham said.
Markham argued that a “hodgepodge” of paper forms previously used by the district was ineffective and that the district would not be able to track and monitor data.
“Paper is what we’ve been dealing with, and how do you like what we’re getting so far? I don’t,” Markham said.
He suggested the district look into using “Stop.Walk.Talk,” an online bullying reporting system.
Stein said it was his understanding from the board that the form should be available “in hard copy form.”
Markham and Stein also disagreed about who should get the complaints. Stein said they should go to principals at the respective schools, but Markham said the district would “lose total control” of the data.
Board members Kathy Moore, Scott Peters, Joe Spalla, Mike Ford, Mark Franceschini and Jeff Regan agreed the forms should be available in both forms.
“Not everybody has a computer,” Moore said, adding she could “not imagine we’d spend more money on an electronic tracking system.”
Spalla said the electronic system would cost about $3,000 a year for all three schools.
Ford said the district also needs a “chain of command” for the reports.
Bullying has become an issue in the district, with Heidi Yergler Herrmann, the mother of a fourth-grader last year, starting a Facebook page advocating for an antibullying program in the district after she said her daughter was a victim of verbal bullying by a male classmate for the last five months of school, causing her grades, appetite, blood sugar and weight to drop.