CPS Amends Bullying Policy

The Columbia Public School District is amending its bullying policy. The school board voted to make the change in Monday night's meeting.

By Matt Norris (Columbia, Mo.)

The Columbia Public School District is strengthening its 5-year-old policy on bullying. There will now be 450 required minutes per year of bullying and hazing instruction for students starting in the year 2013. School Board Vice President Christine King said those minutes will be distributed evenly over students’ time in intermediate school.

“They will receive that instruction through health class and guidance counselors, but they will still work on integrating the rest of those minutes into their current curriculum," King said.

King also said the policy itself is intended for the new sixth to eighth grade intermediate schools once Columbia’s third high school, Battle High, opens in 2013. Board member Jonathan Sessions said he’s glad the issue is being addressed, as students are in a vulnerable position at this point in their lives.

“I think it’s important to have this discussion early with kids so they are aware of their actions," Session said. "Sometimes young individuals are just not aware that their comments are inappropriate.”

Sessions also said the initial policy created five years ago was in response to students voicing their concerns about bullying to teachers. The main difference in the new policy is the required hours. Previously, bullying activity was simply labeled as prohibited by teachers at the beginning of each school year.