- Sherrard CUSD 200
Sherrard Officials Collaborate to Address Bullying
As the school year approaches, officials outline what happens when an allegation of bullying is made.
In this collaborative video, Sherrard Superintendent, Dr. Carl Johnson, High School Assistant Principal Alex Johnson, Instructional Technology Coach Steve Miller and School Resource Officer, and Rock Island County Deputy Mike Mendoza all urge students to talk to an adult as soon as they feel they are a victim of bullying - plus, they discuss the protocols that go into effect when officials are notified about an alleged incident of bullying.
“Bullying is probably the most challenging aspect in education today for parents, educators and students,” said Dr. Johnson.
He said when accessing an allegation of bullying:
- “We will always address the situation.”
“In the state of Illinois - legislation is strict and we are required to address these things.”
“It’s simply the right thing to do - we will never ignore it.”
“...If you see something, say something. If you feel you are a victim of bullying, you need to come to an adult and let us know.
In the video, Dr. Johnson concludes, “Time is your enemy, and it will not go away. Please make sure that you report it. All the adults in our district are always able and ready to help you with anything you need, especially on this extremely important topic.”
Assistant Principal Alex Johnson handles disciplinary issues, “We take bullying and cyberbullying very seriously.” He outlined the process once an issue is brought to their attention, “Listen to the student, and the situation. Then make the determination if bullying is occurring.” Those parameters include, Is the student being targeted, and is it repetitive? Once that determination is made, they move forward with the process outlined by the school board. Then, they create a plan of action, and make sure students have what they need to learn in a safe atmosphere at the school.
“Each case is handled on a case by case basis, and the discipline for it is going to vary.” He said the most significant cases may lead to suspension or even expulsion.
”All stakeholders, including students and parents are responsible in this process to ensure our students have a safe environment at Sherrard High School,” said Johnson.
“Bullying is threatening, power based, repeated and intentional… when it’s digital, that’s when it becomes cyber bullying,” Instructional Technology Coach Steve Miller explains in the video.
Every student in our school district from 1st grade through 12th grade has their own chromebook device to utilize. Through our network we can monitor and see activity that’s going on - on those devices. However, much of the cyberbullying that does occur, is on mobile devices… When it comes to personal mobile devices, it’s a little bit more difficult to track.”
This year, Miller will be facilitating lessons for 1st grade through 6th grade students to start the school year - about digital health.
Those lessons will include ways to manage the digital world, “It’s one of the most important things students can learn at this time.”
The district uses the ‘Go Guardian’ filtration system to monitor activity 24/7 on school-issued chromebooks. Inappropriate language and flagged words used/searched causes a notification to go to Miller, the principals, and in some cases, Deputy Mendoza.
“We are limited when it comes to mobile devices… It’s so important students tell us when they see bullying happening to let us know so we can take action… Even if they’re unsure, it’s always important to tell an adult if you feel like you’re a victim of cyberbullying,” said Miller.
“It takes a team effort,” said School Resource Officer, Deputy Mendoza. “Many times bullying doesn’t get reported until it’s too late, including cyberbullying.
“As soon as you hear something from your loved one, make sure you let us know about it… A lot of bullying comes in the form of social media. Make sure you let an adult, administrator, teacher know as soon as possible.”
Deputy Mendoza reminds students and parents to use Crimestoppers and the ‘P3 Tips’ app - available for download from the App Store or Google Play Store, to report incidents anonymously. According to the app’s developers it is a, “...multi-lingual tip management system allowing the public to submit secure & anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers programs and law enforcement agencies with complete confidence. Ongoing Two-Way Dialog and image and video upload are also possible with P3 Intel, facilitating a strong and effective Community Oriented Policing initiative.”
He reminds parents that social media platforms have an age requirement of 13 years old, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
The video concludes with Deputy Mendoza, “If the administration team determines it’s bigger than a school issue - they will reach out to local law enforcement.”
It takes collaboration to run a school district, and with strategic and efficient processes in place, school officials work together to provide a safe and engaging environment for student achievement.