School board member hopes to expand anti-bullying policy to include teachers and staff

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – From the typical playground scuffle to the hurtful comments from behind the keyboard, we hear a lot about bullying these days.

There are policies in place to help make sure your children are protected but what about teachers and staff members? Efforts are underway to make sure no one feels unsafe inside Vigo County Schools.

“Our primary focus is to make sure kids don’t feel threatened when they come to school. However, we need to broaden that base so it’s not just about the kids but it involves all employees,” said Jack Lower, member of the Vigo County School Board.

The corporation adopted an anti-bullying policy in 2014. It defines bullying as any act that is repeated or chronic and of a threatening or intimidating nature.

Lower said the current protocol is excellent, but she believes the policy should include teachers, staff and personnel. Under the changes, adults could anonymously report hostile behavior.

“Human Resources would receive that report, because when you have that type of bullying environment it just lessens the productivity of the employee and of the student,” said Lower.

The proposal follows the arrest of two school employees who stand accused of engaging in a kickback scheme. Lower said the amendment is not a direct result of the incident but agrees it does draw attention to workplace harassment.

“There was bullying in those documents from that incident. Sometimes you overlook or assume something won’t happen or something will be taken care of, and sometimes it needs to be in black and white,” said Lower.

Specific wording for the amendment has not been decided. Lower said there will be plenty of future discussions with school leaders. No timeline has been set on when or if the proposal will be adopted.