Division adopts bullying policy

Published 8:40 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lunenburg County Public Schools (LCPS) adopted an anti-bullying policy in time for Bully Prevention Month — being observed through October.

The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) established the month-long program to draw awareness to bullying, its impact on students and means to eliminate bullying in schools.

“We believe that everybody should enjoy our schools equally, and feel safe, secure and accepted regardless of color, race, gender, popularity, athletic ability, intelligence, religion and nationality,” a news release from LCPS cited.

The release cited that bullying is a nationwide problem that can cause anxiety, low self-esteem and decreased school performance and attendance.

The release cites that LCPS has approximately 1,458 students enrolled in the division.

Among the actions the division will take in preventing bullying, according to the release, includes reducing conditions in schools that could contribute to bullying.

The release cites supervising previously unsupervised areas, creating opportunities schoolwide to unite students and make a positive environment within

the schools and intervention programs and victims of bullying and bullies.

The release encouraged parents and school staff to intervene and provide examples of inclusive and anti-bullying behavior.

“One of the best approaches to addressing school bullying is the collaborative efforts between parents and school staff to develop a culture which does not tolerate incidents of bullying, taunting or picking on individuals and promoting appropriate behavior at school and away from school every day,” the release cited.

Division Superintendent Charles Berkley said in a statement the policy will involve prompt investigation by the school following reports of bullying and that school properties can include school buildings, school grounds, school-sponsored social events, trips, sporting events, buses and bus stops.

“Lunenburg County Public Schools is committed to creating a safe, caring, respectful learning environment for all students. Bullying of students occurring in the schools is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated,” Berkley said.

He said reports of bullying would be taken seriously and actions would relate to the severity of the incident and results of investigation.

Berkley noted that consequences could include mediation, a parent conference, counseling, suspension, expulsion, or referral to a law enforcement agency.

He said students and parents who may have experienced or witnessed bullying can contact the building’s administrator of the student’s school or the school resource officer.