School board recognizes bullying prevention month

St. Mary Parish school district leaders acknowledged Thursday the importance of working to prevent bullying and stop bullying quickly when it occurs.

The school board approved a proclamation declaring October as Bullying Prevention Month.

“Every day that kids interact with each other is unfortunately a day that bullying can occur,” said Gidget Everitt, safe and drug-free schools coordinator.

Bullying isn’t a new phenomenon, but the tactics used to bully have changed over the years. Students used to be able to escape bullying once they got home. However, because of social media, children are interacting 24/7, and some “never get a break from the torment,” she said.

The school system’s goal is to intervene and investigate immediately when school officials receive allegations of bullying. Employees and students are taught how to identify bullying and what to do if they encounter it, Everitt said.

School board member Marilyn LaSalle said school administrators should be vigilant and watch for bullying in addition to responding to reports of bullying. Most of the calls LaSalle gets in regard to bullying are at the junior high school level, she said.

In other business, the board

—Approved renewal of the district’s casualty insurance for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. Paul’s Agency is the agent representing the district, and the Louisiana Public Schools Risk Management Agency is the carrier. Officials said there will be no rate increases.

—Proclaimed Oct. 15-18 National School Lunch Week.

—Proclaimed Oct. 19-28 the 30th annual Red Ribbon Week in St. Mary Parish. A motorcade will kick off the week Oct. 20 from the west end to the east end of the parish. The week will conclude with a Parade of Schools and Zoo-to-Boo Family Fun Day.

—The board approved revisions to the 2018-19 Gold Book.

—Approved policies from Forethought Consulting relating to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.

—Approved disposal and weeding of library materials for the 2018-19 school year.

—Approved banking resolutions authorizing signatories at various schools as a result of recent appointments.

—Approved permission to submit the annual financial report to the state Department of Education for the fiscal year ended June 30.

—Approved a mineral lease extension of one year affecting Section 16 Township South Range 9 East. The current lease will expire in May 2019. This extension will take effect at that time.

—Approved a resolution of respect in memory of Rosemary Butler, a retired cafeteria technician.

—Approved three different field trips.

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