Bullying dominates city school board meeting

NORWICH ­ – The spotlight clearly showed on growing concerns over safety and bullying at the Norwich City School District Tuesday night during the school board meeting at the high school auditorium.

The issue of bullying and school safety was again brought to the district’s attention last week, after a fight between two high school students ended with one being transported to Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City for treatment of serious injuries. District Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan met with the student and his parents at the hospital last Friday to discuss the incident. Last night, he said it’s a discussion he hopes will never have to happen again.

“We are all reacting to the fights here,” he said to a crowd of concerned parents, students, teachers and community members. “It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot ... If I was a parent, what would I want to know? What would I want to hear from the district? If we take no action, things will continue to get worse.”

O’Sullivan assured that the issue is taken seriously by faculty and administration. In September, all students were notified of the new Dignity for All Act that students must abide by in school and through the use of social media and texting. Since then, cases have been investigated, O’Sullivan explained, and of those investigated, four have led to disciplinary consequences. Even so, physical altercations have climbed to the top of the list of concerns in regards to bullying.

“We will not for a minute tolerate fighting in this building,” he said. “We have programs in place that we’re going to try to expand and modify so we can move forward.”

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