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Anti-Bullying Strategies to be Discussed at Forum

District hosts special forum to discuss how it is fostering a culture of communication and trust between teachers and students regarding bullying.

Wayne educators want parents, teachers, and children to be on the same page regarding bullying.

As part of that initiative, the district will host a special community forum on bullying at Wayne Hills High School Monday Jan. 14 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Naomi Conklin, the district’s anti-bullying coordinator, said the forum is part of the district’s overall strategy of reducing the amount of bullying in the district. Communication and trust are vital to components to that strategy, she said.

“We need to promote a school culture and climate that welcomes and encourages communication between students and staff on a continual basis so that it wouldn’t take an extra-ordinary circumstance for a student to share information,” Conklin said. “Creating a culture where students can communicate with a trusted adult is important.”

The district is participating in Rutgers University’s Bullying Prevention Institute’s yearlong training plan. The project is designed to help the district further organize a set of strategies designed to reduce the number of bullying incidents. Only 10 other districts are participating in the project.

The district is required to submit a bullying prevention plan in June as part of the initiative. That plan will include recommendations regarding programs that can be implemented that will ensure comfort, safety, and civility in district schools, Conklin said.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with Conklin and several anti-bullying specialists from various district schools at the meeting.

A guest speaker will discuss the topic of “A Culture That Teaches Bullying: What Parents Should Know and Understand and What They Can Do.”

Superintendent Ray Gonzalez gives a report of the number of incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in the district within a two-week period at each Board of Education meeting.

Governor Chris Christie signed a new Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights into law two years ago. The law requires that teaches and school personnel must report incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying to principals the day they occur.

For more information, contact Conklin at nconklin@wayneschools.com.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

ConcernedParent January 10, 2013 at 02:08 PM
My daughter signed an HIB and had proof of Bullying, Intimidation and harassment. I received a letter from the Wayne BOE that the investigation was done and Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment DID NOT OCCUR. Thanks Wayne Hills and Wayne BOE for protecting my daughter. Parents, you should not have any faith in the system.
Sensei S. Zapfel January 11, 2013 at 07:39 PM
You can not legislate Bullying out of existence! The solution lies in the hands of the kids who are the "victims". These kids need to build confidence in an activity that promotes strength and self esteem. I have personally seen dozens of kids overcome issues, moderate to incredibly severe with bullying through martial arts training. Confidence is all it takes, stand up to a bully as soon as it happens and it'll never happen again. www.waynemixedmartialarts.com
Justice January 13, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Concerned Parent, My heart goes out to you and your daughter. It is truly an unfortunate situation that many parents have found themselves in. But what can we expect from a town that bullies its' citizens into submission??? What can we expect from the "Rumano's" of the world, who enlist "daddy's" help???? I bet you dollars to donuts that he was a major bully in school in his day...
Justice January 13, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Sensei, you can legislate anything out of existence. It is called enforcement of the law. It is called lawsuits. The only thing that people in this "cursed" town understand.
Jack Q January 14, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Justice, if you can legislate anything out of existence, why are there still drugs on the streets, murders being committed.....Sadly, bullying needs to be stopped at the home. Teachers, administrators and cops cannot be everywhere all the time. It is up to the parents to set the example for their kids and correct the behaviour rather than adopt the notion of "not my kid".
Wayne's World January 14, 2013 at 06:29 PM
I'm teaching my son never to start a fight but to never back down to a bully. For that matter, I hope he will be compassionate enough and strong enough to defend someone who is being bullied. If things have to get physical (within reason) so be it. I will be more than happy to deal with school administrators and any other nonsense if it ever comes to that. I was a passive kid who did not stand up to occasional intimidation/bullying and regretted it later. My brother stood up to bullies immediately and no one messed with him. Some of these bullies are animals and the only way to stand up to intimidation is through force.

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