Category Archives: News

Franklin school featured in bullying report

WBUR radio, Boston’s NPR news station, visited the Annie Sullivan Middle School in Franklin to gauge the impact of the state’s bullying legislation. They learned that Principal Beth Wittcoff expects folks at Sullivan Middle to take action when they witness such things as snickering or teasing, which psychologists call “gateway behaviors” that can precede bullying.

It’s one new element of the respectful community Wittcoff said she’s always tried to foster for her students, through assemblies, clubs and communication.

“They need to feel safe in order to learn,” Wittcoff said. But, she adds, only since the new law passed has she deliberately focused those efforts on bullying prevention.

The full WBUR report can be found by clicking here. You can listen to the radio broadcast by clicking here.

The Bully Project, a year in the life of America’s bullying crisis

This year over 18 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the U.S. The Bully Project film is a new feature-length documentary that follows “a year in the life” of America’s bullying crisis, and offers an intimate look at how bullying has touched the lives of five kids and their families.

With the film at its center, The Bully Project is a grassroots movement to educate and empower kids, parents, teachers and all school staff, to build stronger communities where empathy and respect rule.  You can learn more about the project by clicking here.  You can view the films trailer by clicking on the image below:

Anti-bullying task force formed in Franklin

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.