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BULLYING REDEFINED: Legislation changes procedures, policies in schools

August 22, 2013

Tom Terrell (center), Indian Springs Middle School counselor, along with fellow counselor Dawn Michel (not pictured) are working to educate students on the reporting process for harassment and bullying. School districts across the state are now required to provide extra education on the subject due to new legislation. Post & Mail photo / Nicole Ott

COLUMBIA CITY — Legislators have worked to change bullying laws within school systems to address harassment.

Changes in this legislation may necessitate changes in board policy — a topic that was brought up at Monday’s Whitley County Consolidated School Board of Trustees meeting.

Per the new laws, all staff, volunteers, students, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc. must be formally trained about bullying.

Coesse Elementary School Principal Dr. Laura McDermott had a presentation for the school board.

“Counselors will be laying out what bullying looks like for everyone involved,” McDermott said.

Some board members were concerned with the added strain being put on the school’s counselors.

“It’s going to take a tremendous amount of time, and its an unfunded mandate,” said Brooks Langeloh, board member. “Every year we get unfunded, mandated legislation, while they’re cutting our budget.”

Though the new legislation puts more strain on the school’s staff, Columbia City Police Detective Chip Stephenson said it gives law enforcement officials more leeway to investigate bullying with children.

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