Friday, June 22, 2012

UPDATE on Karen the Bus Monitor

-- Did you see how much her fund has grown?  It's almost at $500,000!  How exciting is that?  And there is still 29 days to go! 

-- On the fundraising site, the school that the students went to is clearly identified, along with their web site information.  I clicked over to the school's web site, and found this statement from the school, which I feel is thoughtful and worth reading:

Updated District Response to YouTube Video
The Greece Central School District has been touched by the outpouring of support for Karen and we share the country’s outrage over the behavior displayed on the videos. We are deeply sorry that Karen was subjected to that kind of treatment.
Based on our internal investigation, and the interviews conducted by members of the Greece Police Department, we have identified four Athena Middle School students as participants in the incident. Certainly the behavior of the students on the video is a clear violation of our district’s Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action to the fullest extent appropriate under New York Education Law will be taken against all involved. However, as we stated yesterday, it is not appropriate for the district to discuss the specific disciplinary consequences that will result for any individual student.

I need to stress that we have a specific process that we must follow before imposing discipline on students. Discipline for public school students in New York State is handled under specific procedures set forth in the New York Education law. In the event that a district is seeking a suspension of more than five days, the district must prove the student’s violation of its Code of Conduct in a due process hearing before a hearing officer. If the student is found guilty, the hearing officer makes a recommendation for an appropriate period of suspension to the superintendent of schools. Each case is determined based upon the actions engaged in by the student as well as consideration of a student’s prior disciplinary record.

As is shown by this unfortunate incident, bullying is not a new issue to those who work in schools. The Greece Central School District has a strong bullying prevention model that includes a district response team, training programs for staff and students including the Olweus Bullying Program, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and a Bullying Reporting Process. In March, we also hired a special counselor to train all staff in bullying prevention models. In fact, she is holding a previously scheduled training for administrators as we speak.

The behaviors displayed on this video are not representative of all Greece Central students and this is certainly not what we would like our students to be known for. We have worked very hard to educate students on the damaging impact of bullying and will continue to do so.

We have received thousands of phone calls and emails from people across the country wanting to convey their thoughts. People are outraged by what has happened and they feel the students should be punished. While we agree that discipline is warranted, we cannot condone the kind of vigilante justice some people are calling for. This is just another form of bullying and cannot be tolerated.

We all need to take a step back and look at how we treat each other. It is our job as educators and parents to teach children and lead by example. We encourage parents to use this as a springboard to begin a dialogue with their children about bullying, respect and consequences. As a school community, we will continue to take the lead in bullying education and we encourage all students and employees subjected to bullying and harassment to report it as soon as it occurs and to take a stand if they are witness to bullying in their lives.

The whole thing shows how a mob mentality can take over - these kids are probably pretty normal, typically thoughtless kids who let themselves be swept away by "wanting to look cool." I can't imagine how upset their families are. If they really ARE this cruel as a matter of every day behavior, then their families may need to consider psychological treatment along with the punishments...

No comments:

Post a Comment