LAKEVIEW — Bullying has become a hot button topic within most public and private school systems in recent years, and Lakeview’s schools are no exception. Even the best schools have their share of bullying, both on and off campus.
At Monday evening’s school board meeting, board members heard this year’s report on bullying from Superintendent Kyle Hamlin. All schools in the state are now required by law to keep track of bullying incidents and report them annually to their respective boards.
“We keep a record as things happens,” Hamlin explained. “This (report) is just kind of a snapshot and includes incidents of verbal threats, physical issues, excessive put-downs and name calling.”
According to Hamlin, the consequences of bullying vary widely from elementary school through middle and high school. An infraction at the elementary school level, for instance, might result in no more than a trip to the principal’s office, whereas bullying in the high school could — depending on the circumstances — result in a student suspension.
In all cases, Hamlin added, parents on both sides of the issue are always notified.
“Whether middle, elementary or high school, all parents were called so the parents can help deal with the situation,” Hamlin said. “In elementary school the consequences aren’t nearly so severe. We don’t punish a five-year-old child like we would a 17 or 18-year-old.”
According to the report, Lakeview Elementary School experienced 64 incidents of bullying this past school year, involving 19 students.
Lakeview Middle School reported 109 incidents of bullying involving 46 students. Hamlin said these involved physical and verbal abuse as well as sexual harassment. In at least one case, police intervention was required. Consequences ranged from removal from class to suspension of athletic privileges to police and psychiatric referral.
At the high school level, the report notes only three incidences of bullying.
“One was a physical issue,” Hamlin said. “Then there was verbal harassment and sexual harassment. One warranted police involvement and in that case (the student) was suspended.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, the school board welcomed new member Allison Kwiatkowski, who replaces Daryl Johnson, who stepped down last month after serving on the board for many years.
Kwiatkowski, who has two boys in the Lakeview school system, said she sought the position in order to have a greater connection to the issues that affect her own children.
“I’ve never been in a position where I’ll have to run for office,” Kwiatkowski said. “I wanted to be involved in something close to home.”
Board President Ed Jonaitis noted that three candidates had vied for the appointment.
“They were all excellent candidates,” Jonaitis said. “Any of them would have done a great job and I encourage them to run in the next election should they still be interested.”
In other business, the board recognized the Lakeview High School golf team for achieving excellence both on and off the greens this past school year. The six person team scored well on the links and in the classroom, coming away with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5.1.
Coach Brian Corwin was on hand, along with three of his golfers.
“We wanted first and foremost to be excellent academically and excellent at golf,” Corwin said.
“They did a good job,” commented Jonatis.
Finally, board members heard from architects working on the expansion plans at Bright Start Elementary School, which will eventually expand to incorporate the current elementary school’s students.
The work there is part of a bond issue passed by voters within the school system.
The board meets next on Aug. 12.