Calais Elementary School Newsletter
Volume 15-16 Issue #11 November 20, 2015
Principal Cat’s Column
Hello Calais Community!
In the last few weeks I have spent a lot of my time focusing on supporting students around a variety of issues. As the instructional leader at CES, this pushes me to consider ways to improve our practice and response to challenging behavior; and to improve the way we communicate about these practices. To that end I wanted to share some important information with our school community about bullying, harassment and hazing.
In May of 2015, new legislation was passed that resulted in a few changes. First, we now have one policy (F30-Harassment, Hazing, & Bullying ) that replaces the separate policies we have had in the past. Second, this new policy comes attached to the expectation that our procedures for addressing inappropriate student conduct follow set timelines and communication for reporting, investigating, and documentation.
I want to be as transparent as possible about the implications for these changes. Challenging interactions and problems occur between students and these issues all need to be addressed so that our students feel safe and engaged in school. This is true whether the behavior is labeled as bullying, or is labeled as inappropriate student conduct. This is not new. What is new is the way we communicate about investigations and findings. This change is based on the understanding that we do not know that when a challenge occurs and is reported whether or not bullying or harassment has occurred. Bullying or harassment are conclusions reached after an investigation.
I think families need to have a deeper understanding of what schools are legally required to do when responding to challenging student behavior, before the challenging behavior occurs. These are not policies and procedures specific to Calais, but are state and federal laws and procedures all schools must comply with. This is especially important in a time when we continue to misuse the words bullying and harassment and label them as behaviors without fully understanding these are findings that come only at the conclusion of an investigation.
Thank you for taking the time to really read through our policy on Harassment, Hazing, and Bullying. It takes our whole community being informed to address some of these tough issues. Please contact me with any questions or concerns.
Please remember we have a very short week next week and there will be no newsletter. I hope you all enjoy your time with friends and family over the Thanksgiving Holiday!
Please also to remember to turn in your dinner reservation forms for the 2nd annual PTNO Spaghetti Dinner & Raffle fundraiser coming soon on Friday, December 4th. Reservation forms are coming home with all students again today, and extras are in the lobby. This year’s list of raffle prizes is looking pretty exciting—ski passes, UVM hockey and basketball tickets, Norwich hockey tickets, Go-Kart tickets, restaurant gift certificates, local goodies like cheese, chocolate, caramel, maple syrup….WOW! Help the PTNO chefs prepare enough food by turning in your reservation form before the Thanksgiving break.
Thank you, Cat Cat Fair, CES Principal