The recent report of bullying within the Lake Washington School District brings back memories of events that occurred when my children were in elementary school. In one instance, the bullying was severe enough and the principal's response so inadequate that we removed our child from the school where he was enrolled in Quest and transferred him back to our home school.
The District's bullying policy, available on the district's website, is vague and difficult to use. It provides no immediate action plan for students who are being bullied and requires no specific action from the principal, teacher or other school personnel who are being informed or who witness the bullying.
School board members cannot address issues such as bullying directly (i.e. board members do not contact the principal, teacher or family); however, they can pass resolutions that tell the superintendent to change the way bullying is reported, resolved and monitored. The first step must be to allow the student to immediately move to a different classroom away from their tormentor (if they agree to the transfer.) Additionally, the district needs to put procedures in place that inform parents and students about their rights and how to receive relief from bullying. There also need to be expectations for staff members' actions and a way to report those who have failed to act on a bullying complaint in order to constructively address the issue.
I will work to change the policies and procedures to address bullying and will keep the issue in the Board's main focus until it is adequately addressed - even if it takes multiple meetings or even years for change to occur.