Issues

Waukegan teen says girls lit her hair on fire while at School


A teen at the Waukegan’s Thomas Jefferson Middle School get’s bullied, has her hair set on fire and school officials did nothing but give the offenders a 3 day suspension.

An excerpt from the NBC Chicago news report:

Neysha O’Conner asked school officials to file a report with police. They declined, and O’Conner herself went to police earlier Thursday. She said officers told her that school officials should have contacted them immediately after the incident happened on Tuesday. “They waited two hours to call me. They didn’t make the report until after told them that I was going to go to the school board and get a lawyer,” O’Connor said. “Then they decide to make a report. I don’t think they handled it well.”

With bullying being a HUGE issue at schools all across the nation and around the world, school officials must step up to the plate and go above and beyond to deal with these issues and those that make the rules need to make sure that schools have the ability to deal with bullies as they see best. Each case is different and needs to be dealt with differently just like any other crime because that’s what bullying is, a small crime but a crime none the less and it only get’s worst if left unchecked. I personally believe that the school is wrong with waiting for a second occurrence to get the police involved, they need to get involved at the first incident. I also think that more needs to be done to get students more involved in stopping bullies from having power over their fellow schoolmates and build stronger communities. There are many issues that cause bullying, from the way kids talk, to the clothes they wear (why I believe that schools should make it a must to wear uniforms), to the friends they keep.

Here are the related sections from the schools parent/student handbook.

BULLYING AND SUICIDE PREVENTION

Throughout the course of the school year students participate in preventative programs designed to address the issues of bullying, depression and suicide. These programs may include an educational presentation and/or individual screening. If you have questions or concerns about your student participating in these programs, please contact the school social worker, guidance counselor, school psychologist or building administrator at your child’s assigned school

BIAS-RELATED INCIDENTS, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, & BULLYING

Bullying, Bias-related Incidents, and/or Sexual Harassment of any nature is prohibited. This includes incidents on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender related identity or expression, military status, unfavorable discharge from military service, association with a person or group with one or more of the aforementioned actual or perceived characteristics, or any other distinguishing characteristic. Additionally, no student or teacher shall be subjected to bullying, bias-related incidents, and/or sexual harassment: i) during any school-sponsored education program or activity; ii) while in school on school property, on school buses or other school vehicles, at designated school bus stops waiting for the school bus, or at school-sponsored or school sanctioned events or activities; or iii) through the transmission of information from a computer, a computer network, cell phone, social networking, or other similar electronic equipment.

A student who feels that s/he is being bullied, sexually harassed, involved in a bias-related incident or witnesses the bullying, sexual harassment, or a bias-related incident of others are encouraged to notify school personnel so that appropriate action can be taken to address the allegations. No student shall be retaliated against for reporting or participating in the investigation of alleged bullying, bias-related incidents and/or sexual harassment. For further information of bullying see the Bully- Level 2 definition. For further information refer to the Definition Section and District Policies: Bullying (6046), Non- Discrimination (6020), and Sexual Harassment and Student Technology Usage (6043).

BULLYING LEVEL 2

Bullying is any severe or pervasive physical, verbal, social, and/or psychological act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student(s) and/or teacher(s) that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: i) placing the student or students and/or teacher or teachers in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s or students’ and/or teacher’s or teachers’ person or property; ii) causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s or students’ and/or teacher’s or teachers’ physical or mental health; iii)substantially interfering with the students’ or student’s and/or teachers’ or teacher’s academic performance; or iv) substantially interfering with the students’ or student’s and/or teachers’ or teacher’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by a school.

Bullying behaviors may consist of or involve conduct that also is a separate offense under the District’s Discipline Code and/or civil and/or criminal laws. Examples include but are not limited to harassment , threats, intimidation, physical violence, bias- related incidents and/or sexual harassment. School administrators are not limited in exercising their discretion in determining how to charge an offense that amounts to bullying and another offense, and may be subjected to one or more applicable offenses.

BULLYING BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION

A positive intervention program that will systematically work with the students(s) that is/are bullying to decrease the amount of bullying that the student(s) is/are participating in. The program also works with the student(s) that is/are bullied. The student(s) may receive the intervention either in small groups or individually with a staff member.

Penalties for Violations:

  • Any student who violates this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion and/or police referral.
  • All gang-related paraphernalia or materials will be confiscated.

Bullying – level 2

KEY:

  • P/T/S = parent/teacher/student
  • P/A/S = parent/administrator/student
  • P/T/A/S = parent/teacher/administrator/student conference
  • ISS = in school suspension/Saturday school
  • DCC = discipline conference contract
  • OSS = out of school suspension
Elementary School (Pre-K – 5) Middle School (6 – 8) High School (9 – 12)
1st Occurrence

  • 1 – 3 Days OSS
  • P/T/A/S Conference
  • PBIS Behavioral Intervention
  • Bullying Behavioral Intervention
  • ½ – 1 hr School Service
  • Restitution
1st Occurrence

  • 3 – 5 Days OSS*
  • P/T/A/S Conference
  • PBIS Behavioral Intervention
  • Bullying Behavioral Intervention
  • 1 hr School Service
  • Restitution
1st Occurrence

  • 3 – 5 Days OSS
  • P/T/A/S Conference
  • PBIS Behavioral Intervention
  • Bullying Behavioral Intervention
  • Restitution
2nd Occurrence

  • 3 – 10 Days OSS
  • P/T/A/S Conference
  • PBIS Individualized Intervention
  • Individual Counseling
  • Bullying Behavioral Intervention
  • 1 – 2 hr School Service
  • Transfer to Another School
  • Restitution
  • Report to Police
2nd Occurrence

  • 5 – 10 Days OSS*
  • P/T/A/S Conference
  • PBIS Individualized Intervention
  • Individual Counseling
  • Bullying Behavioral Intervention
  • 2 hr School Service
  • Transfer to Another School
  • Restitution
  • Report to Police
2nd Occurrence

  • 5 – 10 Days OSS*
  • P/T/A/S Conference
  • PBIS Individualized Intervention
  • Individual Counseling
  • Bullying Behavioral Intervention
  • Transfer to Another School
  • Restitution
  • Report to Police

* 5 – 9 Days OSS is a DCC; 10 Days OSS is consideration for expulsion

You will never reach higher ground if you are always pushing others down.
– Jeffrey Benjamin

Please share this post to as many people and places as you can to get others to see what happened at this school and to hopefully get the school more active on dealing with these issues before they happen. The more people voicing their concern the better chances bullied children have at getting the help they need from schools and for schools to setup better rules and enforce them more.

Thanks.

 

ps. My next post will be on bullying. Stay tuned.

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