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MASB, MDE Call for Unity and Tolerance in Schools

Stacy Bogard

By Stacy Bogard, CAE, MASB Assistant Director of Communications, PR & Marketing

DashBoard, Nov. 16, 2016

In the week since the 2016 election, there have been a number of unfortunate incidents in schools in Michigan and around the country. Instances of bullying, harassment, hateful speech and more have led to students not feeling safe when they walk through their school's doors.

In response, State Superintendent Brian Whiston has issued two statements this week. The first was a call to action for educators at all levels, including parents, to help students understand that this type of behavior is unacceptable.

He notes that, "Our schools must be safe havens for our children—free from hate; free from intimidation; free from bullying; and free from fear."

The second statement, sent yesterday, was a joint letter to school administrators from Superintendent Whiston and Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Agustin Arbulu. It addresses concerns that parents and students may be receiving mixed messages about the consequences of bullying, harassment, violence, property destruction or any other form of intimidation. It includes several strategies for a proactive approach, including a review and redistribution of district policies, social media awareness, promotion of positive learning environments and more. A list of Michigan Department of Education resources also is provided.

"School board members have to represent all of our kids and understand what their districts are doing to prevent bullying and harassment," said MASB Executive Director Don Wotruba. "Ask your superintendents what programs are in place and if they have been effective. Your communities will be in a better place if they know their school district leaders are being proactive."

Below are additional resource articles on these topics. If you have any resource recommendations or thoughts to share, please send them to webmaster@masb.org or post them to MASB's Facebook page. 

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