Columbia talks about new anti-bullying policies for public schools

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COLUMBIA — An upcoming change in the anti-bullying policies for Columbia Public Schools is the topic of discussion at a community meeting.

The Worley Street Roundtable is hosting the meeting at Calvary Baptist Church Sunday at 2 p.m. One member, Dr. Adrian Clifton, said she is hopeful about the new policies.

"There is a very detailed training and disciplinary policy involved for all school personnel to follow. If followed carefully, this can be a really good policy to protect children and get 'bullies' the help they need as well," Dr. Clifton said.

The new policies will go into effect starting Jan. 1.

Columbia Public School's currently defines bullying in its policy as "intimidation or harassment of a student or multiple students perpetuated by individuals or groups. Bullying includes, but is not limited to: physical actions, including violence, gestures, theft, or damaging property; oral or written taunts, including name-calling, put-downs, extortion, or threats; or threats of retaliation for reporting such acts. Bullying may also include cyberbullying or cyberthreats. Cyberbullying is sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices."

Dr. Clifton said this topic needs to be discussed.

"This is important to gain knowledge about, so that we can keep the community members and parents informed. It is important for parents to know their rights and know how to help if their child is being bullied," Dr. Clifton said.

The discussion will also cover repercussions for a bully.

"If their child is the perpetrator, it is important that they understand how serious the nation is taking this issue now, and to know how to get their child the help they need," she said.