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Schools forming bullying policy


Facebook friending also under the microscope


November 10, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Schools officials are working on policies to regulate the use of social networking sites and to handle bullying in schools.

While most of the details are still unknown, School Committee member Patricia Woodruff announced that the group has preliminarily approved such policies during a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9. She made the announcement at a regular committee meeting Tuesday night. The committee is seeking input on both policies from the public and plans to give final approval at a future meeting, she said.

Southbridge's proposals are similar to that of the Sturbridge School Committee's recent work. Sturbridge is currently exploring social networking and bullying policies. While neither have been given final approval, members have discussed limiting specific behaviors by teachers and administrators on social networking Web sites.

Their proposed bullying policy focuses on responding to reports of bullying. The draft policy currently states that parents of an accused aggressor and any victims would be notified of any reported incidents. A recently adopted Massachusetts law requires every public school in the state to establish anti-bullying policies and communicate them to students and staff members.

The Southbridge committee also unanimously approved an $84,358 cut in the district's transportation budget, but that is essentially a wash. District Business Manager Cortney Keegan said she has already received one federal stimulus grant to make up part of the cost and the receipt of another one, that would make up the difference, is pending. The committee also approved reducing Eastford Road School's salary budget by a total of $204,346. The Town Council requested the sets of cuts as part of its efforts to respond to reductions in local aid from the state.

Keegan said she believes additional cuts will not be necessary, but issued a warning.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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