BWHS takes bullying message to elementary buildings
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
Four Big Walnut High School Student Council members attended the November Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting to give a presentation about students partnering with the school district to address bullying, and especially cyber bullying
The four students — Nicole Meyer, Avery Kerns, Lindsey Adams and Caeilen Lozano – said student council members were creating high school, middle school, intermediate school and elementary school age-appropriate presentations outlining the Jessica Logan act, a new Ohio law designed to help prevent cyber bullying using social media. Cincinnati teenager Jessica Logan committed suicide in 2008 because of cyber-bullying.
The Jessica Logan Act mandates that educators are responsible for investigating and prosecuting complaints (including anonymous reports) of cyber bullying, even if the material was created during the student’s own time, away from school groups and apart from any school-sanctioned activity. This would include emails and postings on Facebook and other social networks.
Presentations had been given at Big Walnut High School, the middle school and intermediate school; and last week high school student council members brought the anti-bullying message to district elementary students.
On Thursday, Big Walnut High School students Haley Ferguson, Danielle Herman and Michaella Young spoke with Big Walnut Elementary School students about the forms of bullying they might be aware of during their daily lives, including cyber bullying and indirect bullying.
“How many of you want to be known as bullies?,” they asked the elementary students. No hands went up. “How many of you want to be bullied?” Again, no hands went up. “If you see bullying, tell a trusted adult,” they added.
During the January 14 Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting, district assistant superintendent Gary Barber said the Big Walnut district is entering a contract with Safe School Helpline, a communication service that provides anonymous reporting of bullying, violence, theft, drug and alcohol use, talk about suicide, sexual harassment, and weapons.
Barber said he would be the first point of contact when an anonymous report is made, General Rosecrans Elementary School principal Peggy McMurry will be the second contact if Barber is unavailable, and a third point of contact will be the Sunbury Police Department.
“It’s for students, teachers, staff, administrators and anyone else in our school community to use 24/7, with a direct conduit back to our school district,” Barber said. “It’s what we’re doing to keep a safe, respectful and welcoming environment in Big Walnut schools. It’s not only a good reporting system for us, but also provides counseling 24/7.”