The complicated line between bullying and free speech in schools

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported 437 incidents of harassment between Nov. 9 and Nov. 14 last year, the days following the election of President Donald Trump. The same report said most of the occurrences were reported at K-12 school locations. According to the Southern Poverty Law center, most of the incidents targeted immigrants, African Americans or the LGBT community. The reports raise questions about the freedom of speech in schools and the line between students’ First Amendment rights and harassment.

Three school districts to cooperate in anti-bullying effort

Capital News Service
LANSING – The departments of Education and Civil Rights launched a joint initiative to implement effective anti-bullying high school pilot programs in three districts. Detroit, Vandercook Lake and Allendale Public Schools were selected from nine applicants to participate, based on size and student population. Allendale Superintendent Daniel Jonker said, “We’re very excited to be part of the pilot project. We’re looking forward to the collaboration so we can learn from our colleagues and the Department of Civil Rights.”

Jonker said, “We have a bullying-prevention committee. We have trained all our staff on bullying prevention.

Schools spotlight anti-bullying programs

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan’s anti-bullying law is only a year old, but some northern Michigan districts such as Alpena and St. Ignace have much more experience with anti-bullying policy and prevention. Alpena Public Schools has had an anti-bullying policy for at least 15 years, said Michelle Cornish, the district’s bullying prevention coordinator and Thunder Bay Junior High assistant principal. The program teaches students how to recognize, react to and report bullying, including cyberbullying. “We encourage students to report all incidents of bullying so that we can establish patterns and identify who the bullies really are,” Cornish said.

Williamston schools implementing new bullying prevention program

By Eric Walters
Williamston Post staff writer

Next fall, Williamston’s elementary and middle schools will introduce a new bullying prevention program. The process began last year when Tanya Dupuis, the middle school’s former behavior coach, realized that bullying was dealt with in a reactive fashion. There was nothing in place to prevent bullying. Dupuis researched several programs, eventually choosing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. John Travis, the current behavior coach, said that the Olweus program was picked because it has data to back up its claims.

The Olweus program has three main goals within four main components.