BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The good news is that the number of Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) are, for the most part, down in the district in the period of January to June, 2017.

According to the report presented at the Oct. 12 Board of Education meeting, the number of investigations, 58, are the same this year as they were in the same time period last year, while the number of cases that were affirmed to have been HIB violations was down one, from 22 in 2016 to 21 in 2017.  As has been the case in the past, the largest number of HIB investigations and affirmed cases occurred in Columbia Middle School, with 14 affirmed cases occurring in 2016, and 13 in in 2017.

A copy of the more than 20-page long slide presentation can be found on the Board of Education website. In it there is information on staff development programs – those that are scheduled include some which focus on trends in drugs and alcohol, suicide prevention, anxiety and school avoidance and mindfulness, just to name a few. There are also programs for students which are age-appropriate. In some instances, students attend monthly assembly programs which address social behaviors; in other cases, there are teaching units that address cyber-bullying. Other programs include holding class meetings, taking part in the Safety Bug program, units in health classes that emphasize role playing activities and “upstander” behavior and more.

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The staff safety teams continue to assess the data and modify programs for students to deal with common behaviors and design programs for staff to deal with the behaviors. Parents are updated, positive behaviors are acknowledged and everyone – staff, students and parents – are taught how to report a possible HIB incident.

Photos from the “Week of Respect” at the various schools are included in the report.