DeSoto County Schools draft anti-bullying policy

By Chip Washington - bio | email

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - Officials inside DeSoto County Schools are drafting a new policy designed to take on the issue of bullying.

"Last year we had 27,228 students," Superintendent Milton Kuykendall said Wednesday. "We'll have more than that this year. I do not want one child in DeSoto County Schools to feel like they've been bullied."

That, Kuykendall said, is the reason for a new policy he is proposing to school board members. It comes on the heels of a new anti-bullying state law that went into effect July 1.

The policy will prohibit bullying or harassing behavior against students and employees. According to Kuykendall, it sends a two-fold message.

"It will require every employee to be conscious of bullying," he said. "It gives the children who are being bullied a place to report it."

Kuykendall pointed to the Columbine schools shootings in 1999 as an example of the result of bullying, saying parents must take an active role in a child's life.

"In all fairness, we have to know what are kids are doing," he said. "We have to know what they are participating in."

The new policy will also require principals to investigate incidents, and take disciplinary action if necessary.

"No child should be bullied," Kuykendall said. "No child should not feel safe at our schools. That's one reason safety is our number one issue."

Mississippi has mandated that all school districts have a board policy in place by December 1.

Local school system employees will receive training later this month.

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