WESTFIELD, NJ — At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Margaret Dolan briefly reviewed Westfield’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights and shared reports on violence, vandalism, substance abuse and H.I.B. (harassment, intimidation, and bullying).
Dolan acknowledged the state-required observations being held by the schools this month including Week of Respect (Oct. 5-9) and School Violence Awareness week (Oct. 19-23).
Examples from Westfield schools honoring the Week of Respect include sophomore English classes linking scenes from "The Lord of the Flies" to acts of cyberbullying and kindergarteners reading "Chrysanthemum" while crumpling and smoothing out a paper heart when the main character is hurt or loved.
Dolan also highlighted School Violence Awareness week by sharing relevant statistics.
From Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015, Westfield Public Schools recorded one act of violence, one act of vandalism and five instances of substance abuse. Two H.I.B. instances were confirmed at Washington and Edison schools, and both were affirmed by the board of education.
Dolan urged parents to contact the school and Anti-Bullying Coordinator Joseph Malanga for assistance if problems arise with their children.
The uniform state Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between education and law enforcement officials was also addressed. It is signed annually by the superintendent, board president, chief of police, executive county superintendent and county prosecutor.
The topics included in the MOA are school safety and security plans and drills and the board of education’s obligation to report offenses regarding drugs/alcohol, weapons and child abuse.
In her conclusion, Dolan reminded parents that minors can obtain legal immunity when calling police or ambulances if they have been drinking.
“If anyone underage calls and reports that someone has passed out, they will not be prosecuted,” Dolan said. “We learn a bit more each year and keep people safe.”