EAST WINDSOR: School district reports no increase in school bullying cases

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By Amy Batista, Special Writer
HIGHTSTOWN – The number of incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying remained the same for the first three months of this school year as they were last year according to data released at the East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education meeting Feb. 8.
According to Superintendent Dr. Richard Katz, the district is required to report on violence, vandalism and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) data. A review of the statistics for the three-month period of September through December of the current school year revealed 27 reported acts that would be considered as violence, vandalism, substance abuse and HIB across all the district schools.
“That is actually the exact same number that we had at this point last year, although it breaks down a little bit differently,” said Dr. Katz.
There were a total of eight substantiated incidents that could be considered HIB so far this school year.
“That compares to 13 last year in the same period, so there are slightly fewer cases, which is obviously a good thing,” he said.
Since there have only been those eight cases thus far, Dr. Katz said it is difficult to find any kind of pattern of HIB within the district.
“There was one thing that did stand out, which was also the case with our data from last year. That was that the majority of our incidents fall into the category of verbal HIB,” said Dr. Katz. “Most of them involve insulting or demeaning others. So as we look at trying to curb what incidents of HIB are current within our schools, we need to focus on the insulting and demeaning piece.”
Discipline in these cases have included detentions and in-school suspensions for students found committing violations against other students, which are the typical punishments in those types of infractions. But Dr. Katz added that the district is also focusing on counseling and bringing parents into the process for the offenders.
“It’s not just about punishing, it’s about educating and teaching. So the counseling helps us accomplish that,” he said.
In general, though, district officials are please that the number of incidents has not increased.
“We want to continue to move forward with that,” said Dr. Katz.

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