Shenandoah County Schools working to address bullying issues
STRASBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Shenandoah County Public Schools is working to address bullying problems in its school system. In January, school leaders sent out a memo to parents condemning bullying and encouraging them to talk with their children about it and the importance of speaking up.
Bullying has been a major talking point at recent Shenandoah County School Board meetings. Students and parents have shared stories of major physical and emotional bullying, especially at Signal Knob Middle School in Strasburg where they have said bullies got off with little to no punishment.
“We have faith in the leadership in each building. We have guidelines, we have strict discipline county wide and the principals and assistant principals need to follow it. If it’s not we will address it,” said Shenandoah County School Board Chair Marty Helsley.
The school division has been taking steps to address the bullying issues according to Helsley one of those was to move an assistant principal from Mountain View High School to Signal Knob Middle School.
“The assistant principal that was moved to Signal Knob has helped but it’s gonna be small changes but we’re addressing it. We’ve got a great superintendent and we’re going to listen to her suggestions and come from there,” said Helsley.
Helsley said that while the school division will continue to take steps to prevent bullying it is also important for parents to do the same.
“It’s a balance. Parents have to be involved here. It’s not all on our shoulders right here. The parents need to help at home and hopefully, we can with their help and the help in the school environment we can address some of these,” he said. “A couple of bad incidents gives a whole system a bad name and overall our teachers are doing a great job.”
Shenandoah County Schools Superintendent Melody Sheppard said she will provide an update on bullying and student behavior across the school division at the February 23 school board meeting.
With the spring semester underway, Marty Helsley said another one of the board’s top priorities going forward is the improvement of the school system’s test scores and that things appear to be moving in the right direction.
“Each school has a plan in place and Ms. Sheppard meets with principals weekly to see how they’re doing. We’ve seen signs that learning has improved,” he said.
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