The Luther School Board agreed Monday night to establish a committee to address the issue of bullying.
Board member Tony Rumpl suggested the action at the end of the monthly meeting.
“In light of recent events at the school, there’s been a lot of concern among the community; a lot of discussion on social media on the issue of bullying.
I realize this latest issue really had nothing to do with bullying. But the perception is we have a problem. I don’t think it’s at the level that a lot of people are trying to make it to be but I think there’s room for improvement,” Rumpl said.
Last week, an eighth-grade student was expelled for allegedly writing a hit list naming several students and teachers he would harm. The 14-year-old was taken into custody Sunday night.
Superintendent Barry Gunn said he supported the effort wholeheartedly.
“What we’ve had going on this week is a separate incident but like you, I have heard about bullying; that we are in denial or we don’t do enough about it or whatever.
Part of it might be a misconception. I don’t think anyone in this room has ever said we don’t have bullying in our school. Obviously we do. Anytime you gather a group of students or individuals together … you are going to have bullying.
I think it would be a fantastic idea to get some community involvement of parents, patrons and board members.
I don’t sit here as the superintendent of schools and pretend to know everything. I can take advice from the community,” said Gunn emphasizing that each Luther school has anti-bullying efforts in place.
Board President Steve Broudy said they realize they cannot solve the problem but they will work to make the school as safe and secure as possible for students with the limited resources the school has.
“Yes, we see the problem.
Yes, we are addressing things.
Yes, we are doing what we can,” said Broudy.
Mr. Gunn said the district has not communicated well about the issue and has a sound bullying policy that was updated in 2013.
“Those of us who work up here might think we’re doing a pretty good job and we know specific things that the general public doesn’t know. Anything we can do to get the word out so people can have input will help” he said.
Rumpl said he envisions the committee will do research and get community input.
“We’re not talking about rewriting a policy or having a parent dictate to us how we are going to run the school. I’m interested in a group effort on how we can improve,” said Rumpl.
The committee is expected to be named before the December school board meeting. A group of parents on social media has accused administrators of ignoring a bullying problem.
While the board talked about keeping the committee to a manageable size, while representing each age group with parents, faculty and board members, Mr. Gunn said any parent who wanted to be involved will be heard.