The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 24, 2010

RSC starts year with consultant advice, new anti-bullying law

Consultant Jim Hardy from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees joined the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) at its first meeting of the school year on September 14. Although his visit was similar to the one he paid to the Carlisle School Committee meeting on September 8 (see “Consultant offers School Committee tips on process, goals,” Friday, September 17, 2010), Hardy also discussed some additional topics, including bullying.

Hardy began the meeting by covering committee roles, responsibilities, superintendent evaluations and the revised open meeting law, just as he did with the Carlisle School Committee. Commenting on evaluations, committee member Peter Fischelis noted the updated law “made a difficult process more difficult.” Hardy replied that the new open meeting law “applied sunshine” to the evaluation process. “It is assuring what is written is what was stated in public.”

Anti-bullying plan required

Hardy discussed the new Massachusetts anti-bullying legislation. “Be aware it is on the horizon,” he warned, adding that an anti-bullying plan must be created by December. He said a sample plan has just been released by the state Department of Education. He said the new legislation “allows both schools and police departments to take action if someone bullies.” The act of bullying could take place at school, at home or on the Internet, he said. He added that both a single action and repeated actions could be identified as bullying. The law does not specify how many times an action is considered bullying, said Hardy, because the goal is to “try not to wait until a pattern develops before corrective action is taken.”

When a SC member is on duty

Committee member Jerry Wedge asked Hardy, “What actions” had he observed that are “typically outside the role of school committee that some committees do?” Hardy told the committee that at one school a committee member attempted to change the custodian’s schedule so a particular athletic field was limed first. At another school, he said, “A committee member showed up with a clipboard, not understanding why he couldn’t walk around, even though a visitor policy was in place.” He emphasized that the committee’s “authority rests in the quorum.” ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito