The New Albany-Plain Local School District has been working to prevent bullying for several years, interim superintendent Bill Reimer told the school board Oct. 25.

The New Albany-Plain Local School District has been working to prevent bullying for several years, interim superintendent Bill Reimer told the school board Oct. 25.

Reimer presented to the board a building-by-building report of programs that can combat bullying.

"We have been doing things for years to combat this," Reimer said. "Our teachers care very deeply about the health and welfare of our students."

In the last two months, two parents have told the board that bullying is an issue in the district. Bridget Hileman asked the board Sept. 27 to "prepare the staff, students and parents" for what she hopes will be "isolated" incidents of bullying. She told the board that one of her sons was threatened at New Albany Middle School in an incident the week before. Randy Zimmerman spoke to the board Oct. 11 and asked for a full account of the September incident. He said parents received a vague letter from Reimer four days after the incident, but it explained nothing.

Reimer said each building handles bullying incidents in a different way. The district plans to create one form for reporting incidents that will be used by all staff members and to establish a process to address bullying complaints that will be used uniformly throughout the district.

Those two components will be part of a task for director of operations and planning Ken Stark to study and suggest improvements on building safety. The task is part of the district's strategic plan implementation and is expected to be implemented before the end of the school year.

Reimer said district staff members currently do four things when an incident is reported: they investigate; they review the findings of the investigation to determine what had occurred; they discuss disciplinary action; and they notify parents of all those involved.

The reports show that each building has hosted programs for parents, staff and students to increase awareness of bullying. Each building also has its own program for promoting good character, which is seen as a preventative measure. A few of the programs, including one in kindergarten, have been in place for the last eight years.

"We want to thank you for taking a deeper dive on that, without the board's direction," said board president Mark Ryan.

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