The Franklin School Committee aims to provide its students and staff with an educational setting that is safe, secure, and free from student harassment, also known as bullying. Indeed, the mission of the Franklin Public Schools is to “cultivate each student’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential through rigorous academic inquiry and informed problem solving skills within a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.”
Among our core values are the following:
• Through our words and our actions, we create a culture of civility, thoughtfulness, appreciation and approachability.
• We partner with all members of the community to exchange ideas, solve problems and build a comprehensive educational experience.
Recent events involving bullying (including cyberbullying) in communities outside Franklin have prompted the School Committee to review its current policies and practices in these areas. In addition, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is considering anti-bullying legislation which may be implemented in the next few weeks.
The School Committee recognizes that bullying can have long-term effects on an individual’s self-esteem and mental health. Children talk about feeling alone, worthless and unable to concentrate on their studies. It can wreck their education and destroy their confidence. If bullying is not tackled promptly and appropriately, the consequences can be destructive. Addressing bullying in a forthright and direct manner will help our schools become safer places. A safer school means a better environment for learning.
In consideration of the foregoing, the School Committee has decided to immediately form a task force, pursuant to Policy BDF, to address bullying concerns and make recommendations for the implementation of policies and practices to combat this social problem. The task force will review current policies and practices in Franklin, identify items to include in an anti-bullying policy, identify potential costs associated with implementation of various recommendations, identify acts which acts of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyberbullying which may constitute criminal activity, and address legal concerns.
The Task Force is expected to present its findings in June 2010.