Mt. Laurel Schools BOE reviews Violence, Vandalism, Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Report

This recent report included statistics from Jan. 1 through June 30.

Mt. Laurel Schools has released the district’s latest Violence, Vandalism, Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Report for the reporting period from Jan. 1 through June 30.

The report is mandated under state law, as school districts in New Jersey are required to publicly release statistics on incidents of violence, vandalism, harassment, intimidation and bullying that take place during the first and second halves of a school year.

During Mt. Laurel Schools’ most recent reporting period, Superintendent George Rafferty said the district conducted 17 HIB investigations across all schools regarding potential incidents of harassment, intimidation or bullying.

Rafferty said the district confirmed seven of those incidents as HIB cases.

“These incidents were reported to the Department of Education through reporting requirements,” Rafferty said.

Those statistics were similar to those listed for the January through June reporting period for 2017, where the district reported 15 investigations into potential HIB incidents, with seven of those incidents confirmed as HIB cases.

However, as Rafferty noted, although an incident might not meet the state’s criteria to be classified as a HIB case, that does not mean district won’t take other disciplinary action or provide counseling if necessary.

As for cases of violence, vandalism, substance abuse or students bringing weapons to school, Rafferty said the district had no incidents to report from January to June.

“We are grateful and appreciative of that,” Rafferty said.

Those statistics were also similar to the same reporting period for 2017, which also included no incidents of violence, vandalism or substance offenses and just one incident involving a weapon being found at a school.

Per state law, the district is also required to publicly report on any HIB-related training programs for staff members that take place in the district during a given reporting period.

For this recent reporting period, Rafferty said staff did attend a district-wide HIB training program to discuss all HIB policies and procedures.

Districts are also required to report on any ongoing programs or activities in a district meant to reduce bullying and promote better interpersonal skills and relationships among students.

As in past reporting periods, Rafferty said the district had 30 programs related to reducing HIB incidents among students, with a full list of programs available on the district’s website at www.mtlaurelschools.org.

Specifically, Rafferty pointed to programs such as the district’s “Responsive Classroom” program, through which elementary schools hold morning meetings in their classrooms to hold discussions while gathered in a circle to foster better relationships and improve interpersonal skills.

Rafferty also noted anti-bullying assemblies, classroom lessons to promote character education and school counselors teaching lessons of tolerance to students.