By Michelle Paetow
Mason Times staff writer
Mason Public Schools formed an anti-bullying committee, made up of about 40 people, in May 2011. This committee was broken into subcommittees that created surveys based on grade level for grades 2-12. The survey helped the district collect students’ opinions of bullying and how safe they feel in school.
“Roughly 90 percent of our students have access to a computer and the Internet, so we are creating a website as a resource for students and parents about bullying,” said Mason Public Schools Superintendent Mark Dillingham.
Dillingham presented the proposed policy to the Policy and Curriculum Committee. After they have approved the policy, they must present it to the School Board and the board must adopt one that meets the requirements in the law.
“We looked at our former policy and started to massage it so it incorporated most of the things that Matt’s Safe School Law, then we took it to our lawyers for approval,” Dillingham said. “We have to be very careful with this policy because you must have everything in Matt’s Safe School Law included. Unless it is a language issue, it basically has to be verbatim.”
Mason Public Schools already has an anti-bully policy that also includes hazing. The new policy will combine Matt’s Safe School Law along with local polices made by the district and will be a separate entity from hazing. The anti-bullying policy will include protection for students not only in school, but to and from school, which includes an official bus stop and bus ride. If bullying occurs online or at home, the school cannot intervene unless it is causing a disturbance on campus.
Lauren Miller, senior at Mason High School, said, “I don’t think that this will really make a difference. You see all the stories of people committing suicide from getting bullied in school, it might help a little, but in the big picture, I don’t think it will make a huge difference,” said “People get picked on in school, but a lot of it is obviously out of school online.”
In Mason, the new policy will affect the six schools in the district and will be included in the student handbooks for the 2012-2013 school year.
Jeaneane Blood, owner of Yards of Fabric, a local fabric store, said, “I’ve seen enough things on TV that makes me see that it is a real problem. I’ve been to fabric shows where they actually have fabric that say ‘no bullying. It is a good idea that the schools are trying to enforce it more, but I don’t think it will do much good.”