Bullying Report Heard By School Board

Statistics about harassment, intimidation, and bullying were shown at a recent Board of Education meeting. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

  JACKSON – Board of Education members recently listened to Security Director Raymond Milewski’s presentation regarding Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) as well as incidents of violence in the school district.

  Schools are required to take action if students report they are being bullied. Since 2011, each school district has been required to designate one person in the district as the primary contact regarding the anti-harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) policy. In order to qualify as something recorded as a HIB, the victim must be targeted because of something as race or sexual orientation.

  Milewski said the HIB report runs from September 2021 to December of 2021. His slide presentation featured the names of all anti-bullying specialists assigned to each of the school district’s 10 schools.

  He noted that there were HIB prevention assemblies at every school and grade level along with class lessons and grade level activities. “Character education, peer mediations, morning announcements, school spirit days, character education groups, social emotional learning, character education, diversity and equity and district wide suicide prevention education is going on.”

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  He noted that the school district’s return to in person learning in comparison to remote learning, “definitely impacted our numbers.”

  “I went back to 2018-2019 which was our last non-COVID year. As a comparison, the total number of alleged incidents were 21 in 2018-2019 compared to 14 for this reporting period,” Milewski said.

  He also went back to that same pre-COVID school year to look at the number of confirmed HIBs. “That number was two which is similar to what is for this reporting period,” he added.

  Milewski reported on the secondary schools saying, “we had three alleged HIBs in 2020, compared to 10 in 2021. One confirmed HIB in 2020, 10 confirmed HIBs in 2021 and in 2018-2019 and our total number of alleged HIBs was 11. I looked at our confirmed total which was five.”

  Regarding confirmed HIBS there was seven incidents involving personal appearance as a motivating factor, inappropriate comments came to three with sexual orientation or gender being the subject of two incidents.

  “Some of the consequences implemented were parent/student conferences, out of school suspensions, in school suspensions. Some of the remedial measures used were counseling and mediation,” he added.

  “Location of the investigated HIB incidents had 24 of them located on school grounds. Six of them occurred on school buses. Five of the incidents were cell phone or internet related and there was one incident that occurred off of school grounds,” Milewski added.

  He described some of the classifications of the HIB incidents included offensive text messages, name calling, and offensive comments. “We did see a bit of a change with social media with inappropriate comments, pictures, spreading rumors and some of the more typical incidents with kicking and pushing.”

  Moving on to incidents of vandalism, violence and substance abuse, Milewski said, for the same reporting period as the HIB presentation, “what you will notice what appears to be a sharp increase in the number of incidents. I’d like to remind everyone that these numbers don’t paint a true picture as to what is really going on in our district.”

  Milewski stressed, “we did return to in-person learning in September of 2021 which has obviously impacted our numbers. In the area of violence in 2018, we did report 10 violent incidents, five incidents of vandalism, 39 incidents of HIBs, one incident of a weapon and for substance abuse cases there was a total of 23.”

  He said, “there were 16 HIBs on the elementary school level in comparison to two HIBs in 2018-2019. In the school district’s secondary schools there was a total of five fights, two simple assaults, three incidents of threats, zero incidents of sexual offenses and 20 alleged and confirmed HIB cases.”

  “In comparison 2018-2019 there was a total of four fights, five simple assaults, three incidents involving threats, zero sexual offenses, and 15 total HIB cases both alleged and confirmed. Our numbers kind of fall in line with what we typically see in the district,” Milewski concluded.

  Concerning vandalism and substance abuse, Milewski reported, “there was one report of vandalism that was reported at Liberty High School. There were no incidents at any of the other schools. In 2018-19 there were seven incidents of vandalism.”

  In regards to under the influence cases, “there were four incidents involving marijuana, alcohol zero, prescription drugs zero, substance suspected but the subject refused an exam, zero, possession of substances there was one incident with marijuana. Two drug paraphernalia cases and zero unauthorized drug cases.” Milewski said.

  In comparison again to 2018-2019 Milewski said, “our cases as far as marijuana there was 14, zero alcohol, one prescription drug case, zero drug suspected/refused exam, seven marijuana cases involving possession, zero drug paraphernalia cases, four alcohol cases and two cases of unauthorized prescription drugs.”

Photo by Bob Vosseller

  Weapon offenses were three for the current reporting period all of which took place at Liberty High School and in comparison, to 2018-2019 there was one incident involving a weapon.

  For this reporting period concerning actions taken by the school district, “there were 12 incidents where the police were notified. There were zero incidents in which police were notified and a complaint filed. In school suspensions there was one. Out of school suspensions there was 24.

  “In comparison to 2020, all were zero. Out of school suspension was only one. In comparison back to 2018-19 there were eight incidents of police being notified and 11 incidents that police were notified and a complaint was filed, nine in-school suspensions and 41-out of school suspensions,” he said.

  Milewski said there were 23 student offenders, “student victims five, staff victims there was one. In regards to out of school suspensions, last summer the Jackson School District revised the disciplinary protocol for suspected student substance abuse to reduce the days of suspension and putting focus on getting students the help they truly need.”

  He added data collected from the report would be reviewed to improve programs and for curriculum updates and that a continued strong relationship with the Jackson Police Department would continue.

  Superintendent Nicole Pormilli also discussed a security grant that the school district has been awarded. “It will upgrade our PA (public address) systems in our schools.”