Education

HIB Teams Believe Training is Weakest Link

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BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The district has submitted its required Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Self Assessment – and its biggest focus for the coming year will be on training to recognize incidents.

Bridgewater-Raritan High School guidance supervisor Alan Iachini, who serves as the anti-bullying coordinator, presented the assessment to the Board of Education at Tuesday’s meeting.

According to state rules as part of the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABR) Act, self-assessments are required in each building in the district, and they are done by the school’s safety team.

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The team is made up of teachers, parents and administrators, and they rate the implementation of ABR requirements across the eight elements of HIB programs and approaches -- training on HIB policy; staff instruction and training programs; curriculum and instruction on HIB skills; HIB personnel; school-level HIB incident reporting procedures; HIB investigation procedure; and HIB reporting.

Within each element, Iachini said, indicators are rated on a scale of 0 to 3, and school grades are reported on a 0 to 78 scale.

“The scores are subjective, based on the feelings of the team,” he said.

According to the report, the district’s average grade was 71.9, with the primary schools seeing an average of 72.7 and the intermediate schools with an average of 70. The middle school ranked 72 and the high school ranked 70.

Iachini said the lowest scores at most of the schools were in training for teachers.

“The areas people were hardest on themselves was training,” he said. “They found it difficult to rate a 3 if they didn’t train cafeteria staff, playground aides and others.”

Board member Arvind Mathur asked if there is a way to cross check things and determine if the teams are just being too hard on themselves.

“The composition of the teams may be varied, and there is no training on how to assess themselves,” Iachini said. “They just have to read the state information.”

Plans for the upcoming year, Iachini said, include developing more programs and events. He said they will also address training with service providers, playground aides and possibly bus drivers.

“The staff has adequate training, it’s everyone else,” he said.

Resident Howard Teichman said he wonders what the scores really tell if everything is so subjective.

“And I would think it as much a budgetary issue,” he said.

Iachini said training was also a time issue this year because of the changes and requirements for the teacher evaluations.

“We have to look at the how and the why and figure out what to do,” he said.

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