Columbia Public Schools Contemplate Bullying Program
COLUMBIA- Middle school students in Columbia may soon become more educated about bullying and harassment.
Monday night, Columbia school officials and committees discussed a possible plan to increase the amount of bullying and harassment education in middle schools.
Currently, the district offers an assembly at the beginning of the school year to talk about harassment. Under the new plan, students would be educated in the classroom once a month about bullying.
"When students have assemblies, they probably aren't paying attention," West Junior High School guidance councilor Rebecca Gibbs said. "If they talk about it in classrooms, they will be more likely to pay attention and maybe do something about it."
The preliminary plan was created by students at West Junior High School last season for a district-wide contest.
"The committee really enjoyed that presentation, really liked it a lot of the ideas and certainly it's a lot more powerful when it comes from students," Columbia Public Schools community relations coordinator Michelle Baumstark said, "We are trying to get this through."
The district currently has rules in place against bullying. According to the Columbia Public Schools, bullying is defined by intimidation or harassment of a person or multiple persons perpetuated by individuals or groups.
"I don't tolerate bullying in my class," eight grade art teacher Julie Chatman said, "If there is an issue, I send them to the principal or talk to their parents."
The plan could go into effect as soon as 2013 after the Columbia middle schools change from seventh through ninth grade to sixth through eighth grade.