A good article in the TVN outlines the position taken by Safe Schools for Grandview, a group formed as a reaction to bullying in the Grandview schools. They created a survey in Oct 2015 that was filled out by 60 parents at the school, it shows the actual number of bullying incidents is much higher than the public record of bullying the school is required to track and publish.
A long history of hazing ignored
Grandview Heights schools have a long history of attempting to deal with hazing, most prominently during the term of board member Brian Cook (1998 to 2003). As city attorney he had to deal with the results of hazing rituals that sometimes caused injury ( a student was duck taped and thrown in a car trunk then driven at high speed over bumps and sharp corners). Paddling with boat oars was done. During his time on the school board he passed new rules and programs that sharply reduced hazing, but the attitude of “that’s the way we do things in Grandview” was difficult to change. There were board members who voted against curbing the hazing at the school. (Read the post where Cook talked about his work on the school board).
The board had one meeting
The members of the Safe Schools group also tried to go before the school board in the past. I posted the story back in 2012, during the 3 hour meeting anguished parents described the torrents of abuse some of their kids had to put up with on a daily basis. Promises were made to address the problems by the board members, but since that meeting there have been little changes other than some paperwork.
I talked to outgoing board member Adam Miller and asked him why that meeting changed so little at the school. He thought it may be traced to the “laid back” style of management that former superintendent O’Reilly used. Unless administration and teachers buy into any changes in policy and are made to be responsible for the implementation, any change in policies at the school will remain on paper.
The school board also makes it clear that they had little interest in follow up on bullying policy. In the past the school board has scheduled multiple meetings to deal with issues they cared about. The 2012 meeting was the end of the board’s public meetings or making statements on bullying.
The survey showed pervasive bullying
The Safe Schools group asked asked parents a number of questions about the experiences of their children and how they saw the school reacting to those incidents. The most important numbers – 74 percent of the respondents reported their child had been bullied – but only 30 percent had reported it to the district.
Both parents and children reported that they felt that the best action to take was to stay silent in the majority of cases. That might be a positive tactic if the child felt they could deal with bullying on their own, and then did successfully push back. Unfortunately it also is an indication of resignation, that there was no use in reporting because the school would take no actions. The survey found that in the cases where the parents reported bullying to the school, only five said the issue was handled appropriately.
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program recommended
The parent group has specific changes they would like to see implanted at the school, one of them is a program with researched backed effectiveness in prevention of bullying. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has an impressive website and they say they are the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today.
On the group’s Facebook page they criticize the present “Bully-Proofing Youth” Program. This program, presented by a therapist with no academic credentials in dealing with bullying, focuses on teaching the child defensive tactics and suggests that parents and schools stay out of the conflicts between children. The group members feel this is blaming the victim.
Watch Culp for his reaction
The school board has already shown that they have little concern over bullying at the school. The parents group has taken the correct path and made a pitch to Superintendent Culp, asking for more than the pages of documentation he has offered (and which must be labeled as the programs that have been tried and failed at the schools). Watch Culp to see if he has any interest in making changes at the school, and if he has any ability to make administrators and teachers implement those changes.
Article in the Dispatch – Programs to fight bullying set up in central Ohio schools
Culp is quoted in the article saying “I disagree that the district isn’t doing all it can.”