By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – The School District Board of Trustees adopted a bullying policy at their regular meeting Sept. 7.
Under the new policy the Water Valley School District does not condone and will not tolerate bullying or harassing behavior.
The document not only defines bullying and harassing behavior as physical acts, verbal and written communications, but electronic communications as well.
According to a report from Mississippi State University, traditional bullying has long been a problem for school age youngsters.
However, the new technologies—instant messaging, text messaging, email, social networking sites, twitter, video capable cell phones, and the like—bullying has taken on a new life.
“I think that is a sorely needed policy,” said Board President Lamar Burgess.
The document is available for review on-line as a .PDF file at the District’s website at www.wvsd.k12.ms.us and is the next item below on this website.
Among other actions at the regular first of the month meeting, the Board of Trustees:
• Granted a request by Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran to attend the Superintendent’s Network Training.
• Approved a list of school bus turnarounds to be submitted to the Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors.
• Approved a request from the Beta Club for their annual field trip. The group will raise funds to pay expenses, according to Kathy True, Beta Club sponsor.
• Agreed to allow Devonte Rucker, a WVHS senior and President of the state FCCLA organization, to attend the Capitol Leadership Program. The approval is pending the submission of a waiver of liability. The state organization will pay all expenses.
• Accepted a $500 donation from Wal-Mart to the high school activities account to purchase supplies.
• Accepted a $100 per classroom donation from Turnage Drug Store for the third grade at Davidson Elementary School.
• Agreed to pay for cleaning up at the football field after the homecoming game. But, the Superintendent and board agreed that other options should remain on the table for the rest of the football season.
Currently Principal Glenn Kitchen has been handling the chore. “I feel that it is inappropriate that our high school principal, who works every home game, stays and picks up trash,” Moran said.
She explained that several approaches had been tried in the past including allowing some students to attend games for free in exchange for working.
“We’ve written a letter to youth court asking that youth offenders be assigned to us for their community service and allow them to do some of that (cleanup) for us. They have not responded,” Moran said.
She added that money is available in the maintenance fund to pay for part-time clean up help. She estimated two youths for two hours after each game would cost about $30.
Trustee Casey Washing-ton questioned paying for help when there are clubs in the school in need of community service credits. “There’s got to be a way we can get that thing cleaned without paying a whole lot for it.”
• Disposed of assets, including a computer, printer, and monitor.
“We are really trying to make lemonade out of lemons, if you know what I mean. We are taking parts off of one thing trying to make other things work,” Moran said, describing one of the cost saving measures being used on computer equipment in the schools.
“We are in dire need of technology,” she emphasized. “When they tell you they are no more, they are pretty much no more.”
• Heard from Washington about an 18-year-old who is dropping out of school.
“It breaks my heart,” Washing-ton said. “He’s old enough to make that decision.”
Moran said that he could qualify to participate in the GED program. She explain-ed that the district was trying to make the program more flexible to accommodate students who work.
“We have young people who – if they are fortunate enough to have a job – need to keep it. Sometimes they are the only one in the family (working),” she added.
“It’s really troubling to me,” Washington said. “It’s what we are here to do, educate these kids and keep them from dropping out.”