Bullying was the topic of discussion at the July 26 meeting of the Mt. Laurel Board of Education when the board listened to a presentation from Superintendent George Rafferty regarding the district’s recent self-assessment for determining grades under the state’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.
Out of a maximum 78 points, the Mt. Laurel School District scored 73 points, which equates to 94 percent. The district’s overall score is the average of the scores given to the district’s eight individual schools.
Rafferty said each individual school across the state is required yearly by law to complete self-assessments to rate themselves on how they are implementing the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights legislation that was passed in 2011, and the school districts are then required to report that information to the public.
According to Rafferty, the state Department of Education requires schools to rate themselves on eight core elements that relate to elements of bullying prevention, such as outreach to parents, training for staff members and HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying) programs the district has in place.
“Within those eight core elements, there are 26 different indicators, and I can report this year that all of our schools have met or exceeded all requirements as identified by the state of New Jersey,” Rafferty said.
When broken down by individual school, Rafferty reported that scores in the Mt. Laurel district were as follows:
• Countryside Elementary School received a grade of 73, which equates to 94 percent
• Fleetwood Elementary School received a grade of 74, which equates to 95 percent
• Hillside Elementary School received a grade of 73, which equates to 94 percent
• Larchmont Elementary School received a grade of 75, which equates to 96 percent
• Parkway Elementary School received a grade of 75, which equates to 96 percent
• Springville Elementary School received a grade of 72, which equates to 92 percent
• Hartford School received a grade of 72, which equates to 92 percent
• Harrington Middle School received a grade of 73, which equates to 94 percent.
“The highest score that a school can receive is a 78, and that would be if you exceeded all the expectations and requirements of every indicator, and for the most part on all indicators, our schools have exceeded the requirements, and in some cases the lowest score we received was that we met the requirements,” Rafferty said.
Rafferty also noted a few key areas the self-assessment examines, such as whether the district has reporting requirements in place at each school and whether the district has a clearly defined investigative procedure for when incidents of bullying are reported.
In both those areas, Rafferty said the district exceeded requirements set by the state.
With the completed numbers now compiled and reported to the public, Rafferty the results will be submitted to the state for review.
“I think it’s a very good report and good news,” Rafferty said.