London BOE debate policy issue
By Jane Beathard
Revisions and additions to district policies, including ways to handle allegations of “bullying,” dominated discussion at the London City Schools Board of Education on Tuesday.
Board members approved a revised “bullying” policy that’s more reflective of current Ohio law, according to interim Superintendent Tom Ben.
Questions regarding how that policy will be administered came from board president Martha Geib.
She asked if the new policy requires all allegations of abuse be submitted in writing via the district’s complaint form.
High school principal Chad Eisler said he prefers to accept complaints from students and parents both verbally and in writing. If the complaint is verbal, he puts it in writing.
Board member Melissa Canney asked Eisler and elementary school principal Carol Daniels to calculate their time spent addressing bullying complaints. Both principals said those complaints absorb significant work hours. Eisler said bullying complaints increased significantly at the high school during 2011-12.
Ben observed that bullying appears to be a regional issue and London seems particularly plagued.
Ben said he once served as principal of an 800-student elementary school for nine months and never fielded a single allegation of bullying.
“Some of it is just kids,” Ben said.
Also on Tuesday, board members tabled Ben’s recommendation to maintain “pay-to-play” fees at $100 per season.
Athletic director Ben Mann, who resigned last week, expressed concern the cost keeps students from participating in sports.
In addition, most other schools in the Mid-State League do not charge for participation in sports, putting London’s athletic teams at a disadvantage.
Canney noted some schools waive “pay-to-play” fees for students in reduced-cost lunch programs.
Ben found it difficult to justify a waiver of “pay-to-play” for extra-curriculars as long as the district fails to provide busing for high school students.
Canney asked the board to revisit the issue at its July 10 meeting.