GREECE, N.Y. — The families of four students who participated in the taunting of bus monitor Karen Klein have agreed to one-year suspensions from school and from regular bus transportation for the students after meeting with school and district administrators last week.
As previously reported, a video of the students harassing Klein on board a bus went viral after it was posted on YouTube, and the district announced that disciplinary action would be taken.
During the 2012-13 school year, the students will be transferred to the district Reengagement Center, an alternative education program that keeps middle school students on track academically while providing a structured opportunity for students to take responsibility for their actions by completing community service hours and receiving formal instruction related to conduct and behavior. Officials said the program includes a strong parent involvement component.
Each student will be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and will complete a formal program in bullying prevention, respect and responsibility. In accordance with district policy, if at 30 weeks into the school year the students have completed the conditions of their discipline and are in good standing at the Reengagement Center, they can apply for early readmission to Athena Middle School.
Officials said that school districts are usually unable to announce the exact discipline students receive for violations of the code of conduct. It was possible in this case because each of the students involved admitted to wrongdoing, accepted the recommended consequences and agreed to permit the district to publicly release the terms of their disciplinary action. The parents and students in this case reportedly cooperated fully with the district investigation and with the Greece Police Department investigation.
This summer, Greece Central School District staff, including transportation employees, will continue to take part in previously scheduled bullying prevention trainings. The trainings will include information on New York state’s Dignity for All Students Act, requiring schools to provide a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying on school property, on school buses and at school functions.
Officials also said that Greece Central School District remains committed to bullying prevention efforts through full implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in all schools and the Olweus Bullying Prevention model.
In 2011, the district established and posted on its website a clear bullying reporting process that identifies trained staff in each school for parents and students to work with to address bullying and harassment if it occurs. This process will be more highly publicized throughout the district.
Moreover, the district is currently completing an internal review of policies, training, reporting and appeals protocols to ensure clear steps that employees and students can take to combat bullying and behavior that cultivates a negative environment of disrespect.