May 20, 2013

Monmouth parents tell school officials of bullying at Henry L. Cottrell School

Parents described repeated, targeted behaviors against their children, involving both physical contact and verbal abuse

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

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Regional School Unit 2 Superintendent Virgel Hammonds

Staff file photo by Andy Molloy

"The next day his daughter came to school, sought my daughter out, and apologized over and over again," Webb said. "That could have been easily resolved had the parent been notified.

"It all starts at home. If the parent isn't notified that kind of behavior is going on, they can't stop it."

Webb claimed the father never heard from the school that there was a problem.

Emery, citing confidentiality laws, declined to discuss any specific students, behaviors or discipline. She did pass out forms that are filled out when an incident occurred. Certain behaviors, such as a physical altercation and cases of verbal threatening, can and have led to suspensions, Emery said.

Still, she believes bullying is a type of behavior that can provide "teachable moments" to help explain to the child why the behavior is unacceptable and help guide them to making better choices.

"We don't often call it bullying because when you put words in the mouths of children that's who they become," said guidance councilor Priscilla Thompson.

While understanding of the school's goal to help every child learn and behave properly, parents expressed concern that the effort to reach every child could come at a heavy cost to others.

"How many teachable moments do we allow?" asked parent Karen Ainsworth. "I was on the receiving end of teachable moments my entire academic career. I don't want my children to go through that."

Craig Crosby — 621-5642


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