StopIt: New city program targets hazing and bullying

LARRY C. BOWERS Banner Staff Writer
Posted 1/29/16

The Cleveland Board of Education and the school system’s administration are taking steps to enable students to more easily report incidents of bullying, hazing and other offenses.

The school …

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StopIt: New city program targets hazing and bullying


The Cleveland Board of Education and the school system’s administration are taking steps to enable students to more easily report incidents of bullying, hazing and other offenses.

The school board, at Thursday’s meeting at the central office, approved a $3,600 expense for the school system to enroll for one year in the StopIt Program. This is an online program where students can immediately contact an authority figure, or supervisor.

In approving the one-year enrollment, board members also requested a six-month update on the success and/or anticipations for the program.

The StopIt Program is being provided by the Tennessee Risk Management Company, and board member Dawn Robinson is a member of the trust’s board.

Tom Montgomery made Thursday’s presentation.

“We brought this program to board, and several schools have already signed up,” said Montgomery.

“Kids can load the application on their phones, where they can manage serious incidents,” Montgomery said. He added this can be very beneficial for students, because they have created another world in social media.

“It protects students, protects schools, and protects community,” he added in his sales pitch.

Addressing an inquiry from board member Steve Morgan about success to date at schools of 1,200 students or more (like Cleveland High School), Montgomery said the program is still in its start-up stage.

Director of Schools Dr. Marton Ringstaff explained that the way such situations are currently handled is that the students report to the school resource officer.

“I would like this, because it is something we can track,” said Ringstaff. “I love the program, and tracking is simple.”

Board member Dr. Murl Dirksen suggested the board put a group together (of Cleveland High and Cleveland Middle administrators) and look at this opportunity. He said the board should decide “if the program is needed or not.”

Kellye Bender, supervisor of Secondary Education, said her team has looked at the program.

Morgan asked what type of program Cleveland schools now have, and was told by Ringstaff the schools have nothing (except the traditional SRO).

Ringstaff added he felt the program is feasible, continuing to state he likes its ability to track of origination of calls.

“We’re here to serve and protect our students,” the director said in giving a 100 percent recommendation to the StopIt Program.

The board then approved the one-year trial. Administrators will be able to wire the notification system on what they feel will be specific needs.

The StopIt Program is expected to be a deterrent to any student contemplating offensive behavior or actions.

In other school board business:

— Ringstaff, and members of the school board, expressed extreme disappointment with the legislative delegation representing Cleveland and Bradley County, in their recent support of school vouchers.

Reps. Kevin Books and Dan Howell, and state Sens. Mike Bell and Todd Gardenhire all supported the bill, which advanced out of committee by an 11-10 vote. Gardenhire reportedly cast the deciding vote.

Ringstaff emphasized that all 141 Tennessee school board opposed the bill. “Who are our legislators representing,” he asked.

Sherry Crye of the Chamber of Commerce told the board, and Ringstaff, the legislators were scheduled to be at a Chamber (Public Affairs) breakfast this morning.

Charlie Cogdill, Morgan and Ringstaff expressed plans to attend the event.

The school board approved a resolution Thursday evening to continue to oppose the voucher proposal.

Two proposed state bills received resolution approval from the board.

Bill 1303 would allow Cleveland Utilities to provide broadband service, which Ringstaff said would benefit the school system. Bill 675 will help Cleveland’s Hispanic students, Ringstaff added.

— The board approved an accumulative evaluation for Ringstaff

The director of schools receive an overall rating of 4.96, of a possible score of 5.0, from the seven board members.

He received a perfect, 5.0 rating in three categories: collaboration with family and community; integrity, fairness and ethics; and superintendent-board relationship.

His lowest score was a 4.87 for school culture and instructional programs. He got 4.98 for political, social and cultural contexts; a 4.92 in management and operations; and 4.93, in vision of learning.

— Members of Ross Elementary School’s Student Leadership Team attended Thursday’s meeting to salute the board during School Board Appreciation Week.

They were accompanied by the program’s teacher-sponsors, and Principal Lisa Erby.

Ringstaff also acknowledged the board members, and they were treated by members of the Cleveland High School’s Culinary Department students.

— Board members approved the 2016-17 Cleveland High Course of Study Handbook and curriculum changes.

Passed on first reading were the policy changes on advanced college placement, graduation requirements and family and medical leave.

— Newly appointed Board Chairman Dawn Robinson, for her eighth term, announced several committee appointments. She named George Meacham to the Insurance Committee, and Cogdill remains with Policy. The Site Committee will retain Chair Dirksen and Peggy Pesterfield, with Morgan replacing Robinson on this panel. Tom Cloud was named to the Tennessee Legislature Committee.

— In her final report from the state Legislature, Robinson reviewed several proposals being discussed in Nashville.The opinion was expressed that the legislative sessions seems a “little edgy.”


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Kids can learn tolerance and kindness from songs like “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully,” on YouTube, which can help combat bullying. It has received close to 7000 hits so far.

I was a teacher for 20 years.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


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