by Mary Fox
On July 1, 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill updating the New York State Dignity For All Students Act (DASA), which created the need to update parts of the Ellicottville Central School Code of Conduct. Ellicottville Central is being proactive in implementing changes that are not required until July 1, 2013.
One issue taking precedence is bullying. It was discussed in detail by middle school/high schoolteachers at this Tuesday’s “Dignity” assemblies. Classes were broken up into small groups for interactive activities.
The school’s “Students Rights and Responsibilities policy” states that “students take part in district activities free of the harassment or discrimination.”
Bullying is harassment and may include non-acceptance of another person because of religion, socioeconomic status, intolerance, hazing, etc. Bullying can be physical or emotional. It is repetitive and often thought out.
Bob Miller, ECS middle school/high school principal, addressed the senior class gathered in the chorus room. Afterwards, class officers were interviewed about their feeling of harassment at ECS.
Vice President Alex Steinbroner answered that he feels “the middle school needs more enforcement of the code of conduct.” President William Murphy agreed and added that “the high school takes care of itself pretty well.” Secretary Janae Hamilton said she has never been aware of any problems.
Two teachers, Tammy Eddy and Dan LaCroix, and Miller are trained to deal with incidents of discrimination at the school. They are required to take special training to work with students with complete confidentiality to deal with incidents of discrimination. They are always available to help students deal with bullying.
Parents or students can also report incidences, along with other concerns, anonymously on the ECS website (www.ellicottvillecentral.com). Just click on “Report a Concern” on the home page in the left-hand column. Miller has already had three such concerns so far this year.
Cyber bullying was addressed and defined as the use of the Internet to make or spread hurtful or rude messages, pictures or anything that makes fun of others, whether at school or away. It can lead to a student being suspended from school.
“The point is you should do something. Stand up for your classmates and yourself. You don’t have to take bullying or unwanted behavior of one person over another. If you are aware of incidents of bullying, do something. Go see Mr. LaCroix or Mrs. Eddy, myself or a teacher or a parent. Bullying will never happen here (at ECS),” Miller stressed.