On Dec. 8, the Union-Bulletin printed an “Our Reader’s Opinions” penned by Max Berg in which he stated the Walla Walla Public Schools do not address the issue of bullying. This opinion is not based on fact.
We do not want any child to be mistreated. I am proud that our schools and society at large, and yes, even Max Berg, care enough to tackle this issue. It is not acceptable to fall back on the old cliché’s of “Kids can be cruel” and “Boys will be boys” to justify bullying behavior.
The School Board, administration and staff takes the issue of bullying very seriously, to the extent that the district goes well beyond the state requirements for bullying policies, procedures and reporting.
Anti-bullying programs in place in Walla Walla Public Schools begin by educating our youngest students. This work continues through all grade levels.
Mark Thompson, a regional expert and national trainer on bullying prevention and intervention, has trained our staffs and many of our students. The district contracts with Stu Cabe, a national speaker who specializes in developing a positive school climate and culture.
Stu designs engaging and well-received programs promoting civility and to help to prevent bullying at the middle and high schools. The district also provides a 24/7 safe schools phone line (1-866-LIVE-TIP ext. 570) to allow anyone to provide an anonymous tip on bullying and harassment to the district.
Conflict resolution is usually complicated and difficult to always find a mutually satisfactory outcome. Not all bad behavior is bullying; in fact there is a legal definition of bullying that is enforced in our district.
It is often the case in situations of bullying that one person will allege improper behavior from another person who denies it. Caring deeply for each and every student we are entrusted to educate, we do our best working within the confines of the law and within the situation itself.
I ache for children and adults who have been, and who are, victims of bullying.
I need our patrons to know this is an important issue and the claim that we are doing “nothing” is simply not true. We will continue to do everything we can to foster both an emotional and physical environment where every child can learn and reach their full potential.
Walla Walla Public Schools