Letter to the Editor

Reader thanks guest columnist

Sunday, February 26, 2012

To the Editor:

The Brazil Times hosted a guest columnist Feb. 13, 2012, who shared her experience of being bullied while attending the public schools of Clay County Schools.

I would like to thank her for being brave enough as an adult to share her story with our community. I commend her for being able to apply what she learned through her negative experiences to help create positive experiences for the "at-risk" youth she has worked with for the past five years in Nashville, Tenn.

I also want to apologize to her for what she encountered at the hands of other children, and the tepid response she may have received from some staff when this behavior was reported in the 1990s.

The guest columnist reported she recently reviewed the "Clay County District Home Page and only found the word bully referenced in one short paragraph, which does not even lay out what the punishment will be for bullying or how it will be enforced."

There are 165 pages in the Corporation Policy Handbook; therefore, it's easy to overlook the policy she was looking for.

Policy 2811 was authored by the current school board and passed into policy Nov. 11, 2010.

It was placed on the CCS website in November 2010. Although CCSC had other policies in place regarding bullying, the current school board wanted to strengthen the language and intent of the previous policy.

I must share with her and the community the School Board of Trustees of Clay Community Schools, as well as the administrators, teachers and staff, are committed to making our schools a safe learning and working environment.

We firmly believe every child has a right to learn in a positive, safe and nurturing environment. Please take a moment to review Policy 2811:

* 2811 -- Harassment, Intimidation, Threatening, Bullying.

In compliance with Indiana and federal laws, Clay Community Schools will not tolerate the acts of harassment, intimidation, threatening, bullying or otherwise unprofessional conduct from anyone employed by the corporation, enrolled in school, attending school events or volunteering. The Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees is committed to providing a working and learning environment free from this type of unacceptable behavior.

Harassment may include, but is not limited to, any physical or verbal conduct demonstrating hostility toward a person and may be in the form of unwelcome comments, jokes, epithets, threats, insults, name calling, cursing, negative stereotyping, damaging personal property, offensive gestures, possession or display of derogatory pictures or graphic material or unwelcome physical contact.

Intimidation may include, but is not limited to, intentional behavior which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities fear of injury or harm, which annoys, threatens, alarms, or puts a person in fear of his/her safety, or cause emotional manipulation, purposeful embarrassment and/or actual physical assault.

Threatening may include, but is not limited to, a verbal statement or act which generally involves a perception of injury, physical or mental damage, material and tangible detriment, or loss to a person.

It may include verbal statements, hand gestures, raised fists, actual physical contact, or placement of signs or graffiti on the property of another person with the purpose of coercing, which is the use of pressure to compel or force someone to do something or make something happen.

Bullying may include, but is not limited to, intimidation, humiliation, aggressive behavior, sabotage and verbal abuse.

Any employee, student, parent or community member who believes he/she or his/her child has been subjected to harassment, intimidation, threatening, or bullying from anyone employed, enrolled, attending school events or volunteering must report it in writing to the principal of the school, superintendent or school board president within forty-five (45) days of the event.

The School Board of Trustees may authorize an investigation into the allegation and may take action deemed appropriate by policy and/or State or federal law, leading to possible discipline, expulsion, termination or criminal prosecution.

(Approved Nov. 11, 2010).


Amy Burke Adams,

Clay Community School board member,