Ferry schools respond to bullying

MARTINS FERRY Bullying issues have been raised among parents of the district’s children, with complaints about the handling of such issues in the classroom, according to talk on Facebook and social media sites. A parent of an Ayers Elementary spoke to the Times Leader, claiming that after years of persistent bullying her child has begun to exhibit behavioral issues. She further claimed that confirmed her child was disciplined for an outburst following one such bullying incident. This parent also claimed the district has not responded to requests that the child be moved from an assigned seat on the bus.

Superintendent Dirk Fitch said the district’s bullying policy is being updated to adhere to new state and federal codes, with a new policy to be adopted and put in place this November He added that bullying reports are investigated by the administration of each school building.

“Whenever we get a report, we take it very seriously,” he said, adding that the issue has been discussed in principals’ meetings and no significant upswing in bullying reports have been noted.

Fitch added that the district adheres to the definition of bullying as negative action and aggressive behavior over time on the part of one or more persons when there is a difference in power.

He said he appreciates the concern of parents, but added that the issue is complicated by the need for confidentiality in their investigative policy. He said there are often facts in a bullying report that may not be released to the public.

“Our goal is to create a safe area, with a good education for all,” he said.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com