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La Vernia trustees address bullying, ‘super’ search
Tech. Sgt. Gregory Ripps
WCN CorrespondentNovember 13, 2013 | 1,903 views | 2 comments
In an effort to address student bullying, the La Vernia Independent School District has developed a 10-step action plan, outlined during the Nov. 4 board of trustees meeting.
A committee comprising junior high school Principal Bill Mikeska, Vice Principal Philip Villanueva, and Counselor Jennifer Tucker presented a 10-step anti-bullying action plan “to diffuse concerns ... over recent events.”
Committee members presented the proposed steps, including: Assess bullying at the junior high school; target areas where bullying is most common; create a safe and supportive school environment; engage staff, students, and parents in preventive efforts; charge the School Safety and Security Committee with coordinating all bullying-prevention efforts; train and teach students and staff about bullying; create and enforce clear rules pertaining to bullying; empower staff to intervene during a bullying incident; infuse bullying-prevention education into existing curriculum; and continue efforts over time.
Board members Janette Chall and James Barnett questioned the committee about covering areas where bullying might occur. Mikeska assured them that no students would be alone and unsupervised in the locker and shower areas, and Villanueva said teachers were asked to stand outside the door of their classrooms between classes to watch the halls, as well as their classrooms.
“Considering the damaging effects bullying can have on a school, the community, and our kids, it is vital that effective strategies are implemented,” Mikeska said. “We need students, parents, and community members to join our School Safety and Security Committee.”
The committee also asked the board to consider having a professional security audit of the junior high campus, placing security cameras on the campus, and securing open walkways for added protection.
Dr. Cody Miller, board president, asked interim district Superintendent Linda Bettin to “look into these recommendations for action.”
Also discussed during the meeting was the search for a permanent district superintendent. Attorney Tony Resendez said the board could hire a search team, do the searching themselves, or “something in between.”
Board member David Watson recalled that the district received approximately 130 applications during the district’s last search for a superintendent.
Resendez suggested establishing a calendar for the search, determining the minimum qualifications for the candidates, and bringing in a professional consultant to set up a profile. He also said the board could start advertising immediately.
“The time and money you spend on this is well worth it,” Resendez said.
The board approved sending out a request for quotation for a search firm.
Also during the meeting, the trustees:
•Discussed in closed session the interim superintendent’s duties and responsibilities, along with the hire of two school librarians.
•Took no action but received a refund of $37,051.89 from the Wilson County Appraisal District.
•Recognized four seniors who are members of the La Vernia Volunteer Fire Department.
•Congratulated the members of the FFA Milk Quality and Production Team, for winning a national tournament.
•Were encouraged by Robert “Butch” Allen during public comments to support student golfers. His niece, Shawnee Allen, won first place in a recent tournament.
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7th Generation La Vernian
November 14, 2013 2:14pm
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November 13, 2013 1:46pm
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