Tackling a subject that has generated complaints in recent months from Staunton River High School students and parents, the Bedford County School Board approved a new bullying prevention and intervention policy. The SRHS group and 16-year-old student Laura Ellis spoke to the board several times in hopes of addressing the issue they say is rampant at the Virginia school. A Facebook page called “Staunton River Bullying Must Stop” formed and Ellis circulated a petition demanding a stronger stance from school officials. Shortly before the board’s vote to pass the new policy, Ellis told the board she would continue to hound officials at meetings until something was done. She seemed supportive of the new policy and thanked the board.

The policy was developed with input from a team of school administrators, school psychologists, social service workers, nurses and central office staff. It defines bullying as “repeated negative behaviors with the intent to frighten or cause harm.” School staff will be given instruction annually on administrative procedures to address bullying and harassment, the policy states. Education activities are outlined such as school wide assemblies on bullying prevention, classroom meetings to discuss topics of bullying and harassment, videos or online learning modules and instruction on how to intervene or report instances to authorities.

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