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Killdeer School Board discusses harassment

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Killdeer School Board discusses harassment
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

KILLDEER -- The Killdeer Public School Board plans to send a new bullying and harassment policy to the North Dakota School Board Association after making some minor adjustments to meet specific needs of the district. Killdeer officials deemed the guiding principle a "work in progress" during a meeting at Killdeer Public School on Wednesday night.

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Schools are required to have a policy in place by July 1, 2012. However, the members wanted to implement the policy by fall.

A prototypical policy was offered from Jamestown, but after analysis, the Board found too many ambiguities to find it suitable. Board member Linda Kittilson said the policy will need to be tweaked because there are specific needs of smaller school districts.

Shelley Lenz said this was just used to get the ball rolling and that adjustments would have to be made.

"This was offered for districts to use and they might need to add a little bit for their own usage," she said.

Superintendent Gary Wilz said it is suggested to hold off on implementation because there are changes in legislation from the state and federal government. The policy will be reviewed by the School Board Association and will go through a second and third reading by Killdeer officials.

Concerns were more about phrasing issues and not about issues being omitted.

"I thought it was good and in depth," Kittilson said. "I don't think they missed anything."

Wilz was concerned that this policy was over stepping the practical means of enforcement. He cited situations where students may be using cell phones and there would be no means to track malicious interaction between students or events where there are large crowds.

"They can't always be under our watchful eye, so to speak," Wilz said.

Other concerns were raised that the policy might be overstepping scholastic jurisdiction. The policy had phrasing that encompassed students, teachers, volunteers and workers who are involved in situations that may have happened outside of the school, but still might affect school happenings.

"I think it is difficult to enforce with all those parties," Wilz said. "It becomes an enforcement issue."

The proposed guideline would place offenders in a matrix that figured punishment based on the number of offenses, academic standing and severity of transgression. However, Board member Bob Tuhy was concerned that the inconsistency should be

avoided.

"An offense is an offense," he said.

Wilz said the policy had too much focus on paperwork and would hold back any type of investigations.

"It really bogged things down for me," he said.

It is nearly impossible to make everything clear cut, but it is important to be willing to adapt.

"You just have to keep evolving," Tuhy said.

The procedures will be sent to the NDSBA after adjustments are made. Killdeer officials will go through readings in July and August with recommended improvements from NDSBA.

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