Group Raises Concern Over School Anti-Bullying Policy

Power of Self-Education (POSE) Co-founder and CEO Katrina Hobbs-Everett.

A discussion on an updated anti-bullying policy and new surveys by the Haverhill Public Schools is anticipated as the leader of a Mount Washington neighborhood group, a recent critic of the district’s code of conduct policy, is scheduled to speak tonight before the Haverhill School Committee.

Power of Self-Education (POSE) Co-founder and CEO Katrina Hobbs-Everett will address the committee as it continues a discussion from its last meeting on the department’s anti-bullying policy. She told WHAV today she participated in a parents survey, released online Wednesday along with other surveys for students in grades 3 to 5 and grades 6 to 12.  While saying she was ‘thrilled” the school district listened to concerns and wrote the surveys, she suggested the parent survey should further reflect whether more than one child was subject to a bullying incident.

“The questions are guided and not very open-ended. If you have students in multiple grades it allows you to record only one incident,” Hobbs-Everett said.

An updated district anti-bullying policy was also posted by the school department. Hobbs-Everett said it contains a more detailed and clearly defined chain of command to address bullying complaints. She added that policy is also intertwined with a school discipline, or code of conduct, policy over which she said she raised concerns with the committee in April. She also noted the updated anti-bullying policy added follow-up procedures which, she added, “should have been done already.”

Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti has requested Hobbs-Everett speak during tonight’s meeting. WHAV has reached out to Magliochetti, but he was not immediately available.

As WHAV reported Oct. 26, Hobbs-Everett, in an e-mail to Superintendent James F. Scully and copied to committee members, claimed school bullying and violence was “out of control” and requested Scully schedule a so-called emergency meeting with parents. The request came after Sully, in September, said he backed out of addressing a conference by Haverhill Hispanic Coalition when he learned the group planned to advocate for fired District Supervisor of English Learner Education Graciela Trilla.

“Parents are fed up and outraged by the drugs, violence, and bullying that currency plague our schools, and with the constant overlooking of such issues by yourself and your administration. Our ‘zero tolerance’ policies and anti-bullying policies are not being taken seriously and/or upheld uniformly in every school,” Hobbs-Everett wrote last month. She had also claimed Scully, since a February “school to prison pipeline” forum held by POSE, had not responded to requests to review the district’s code of conduct in compliance with state law.

15 thoughts on “Group Raises Concern Over School Anti-Bullying Policy

  1. According to Mistah Mayor he doesn’t beleive guard shacks and those entering the school grounds is a safety issue. Good to know, god forbid anything happen because hat foolish statement will follow you. As a parent I want to know who is coming and going on school property.
    Bullying is an issue and if not addressed will lead to future problems. No child or adult should be a target! It’s hurtful and the target will be haunted by this person for a long period of time.
    Unfortunately the mayor caters to the voters and tells them what they want to hear.
    The I gquestion is, have here incidents been reported to the proper authorities? I know that goes against the Pose theory of school to jail pipeline but these issues need to be addressed.

    • Mr. Dan, POSE does not have a “theory of the school to jail pipeline”. The term “School to Prison Pipeline” is a real thing, we did not make that name up. Some informative links are: , , . This is a well documented dynamic that happened across the country.

      But to answer your questions, yes as you will hear if you watch the SC meeting when it come out; the incidences were reported per our district policy. Reports may be made by youth, parents, verbally or in writing. Reports may even be made anonymously. Some were reported by students,others by both the student and parents. The next step according to our policies should have been investigations, paperwork documenting the events (especially the physical assaults) and parent communication. None of this was done. When it comes to bullying, or incidences of violence the severity should never be assumed, or doubted. It should be investigated and documented that is was investigated, per the findings in the Incident form. Eventually one parent was able to be heard through the IEP teem meeting and helped her son, but most of the issues remain unresolved, and are all improperly documented, and/or not yet documented- this is critical for the youth’s protection, safety planning, and protection of the youth’s record. Victims of undocumented bullying should not be being suspended for physical altercations that arise from bullying. They are targets, not offenders- and BOTH parties need help. That sir is the POSE theory. That both parties need help and it is the job of the school administration, who serve the youth, to work with the parents and find ways to keep all kids safe. We will be following up with each parent who approached us to make sure they receive the appropriate response.

      • So if I read this correctly you are sayin pose is the authority and that is who it is reported to? How about it being reported to the police if the school,isn’t doing anything. I get that you want pose to be there for the children but guess what you are not the authority.
        If my child is bullied or assualted I would expect action by the school and police.
        If an offending student is disrupting the education of others in a classroom and failed parent meetings and school discipline isn’t working what are your suggestions?
        Time to grasp a bit of reality because things aren’t working with the hands off approach.
        In regards to watching the meetings I can only handle so much of the pathetic circus. Though Mr Magliochetti brought up a valid point regarding your survey.
        I wish you well in your political aspirations but my advice would be to include everybody throughout the city

        • No Mr. Dan, You do not read me correctly. The school is the authority that the students and parents reported to. As our policy outlines to do. The police deal with issues of legality, school issues although often the root of many legal issues- are not tracked from police to school. Some parents have been told they could not press charges, because the district would be pressing charges. Then they state they can not reveal any information because it’s confidential. Other parents were told they could press charges and when asked if the school would help, they said the school does not deal with bringing charges, that would be up to the individual parents. Exactly my point, the policy implementation varies from school to school and situation to situation. Also these parents do not expect action regardless of how hard they are trying, because they have historically been ignored. They expect to try and hope for a different response, for any response, but get nothing. They’ve been very hands on; but they are also very upset and most of the time carrying their own trauma from negative school experiences. I am working to make the data public, in a way that maintains the parents privacy. Thank you.

    • “Mistah Mayor he doesn’t beleive guard shacks and those entering the school grounds is a safety issue.” –

      That’s most of Massachusetts, I’d prefer some of my children’s teachers be trained and armed for a worst case scenario. Of course, The Massachusetts Legislature doesn’t believe in firearms even to be on school property – so target rich environment it is should all things go wrong.

      I also wouldn’t mind limited immunty on school grouds for teachers should they have to get rid of somones punk of a child. As it stands, they would probably be sued should they even place a finger on the disrespectful little turds that plague the school system.

  2. Thank you for the clarification, well said.
    However it would be nice if these were also printed in Greek and Vietnamese as there are families who also need this translation.
    But better yet, why doesn’t Prose offer English classes for those that wish to learn it. There is govt money out there and prose is getting some now so how about reaching out and offering this.
    Just a thought.

    • I wish POSE had the capacity to translate our own materials. I would love to have materials offered in many languages. I agree with you Dan about providing varying languages. Lowell does this very well. I also agree that providing ESL classes would be useful. I will add that to our wish list. Thank you so much for the suggestion.

  3. We do not have concerns about the policy. The policy is progress. The old policy was good, but this one is improved. We are pleased with the districts efforts to improve this policy. We are pleased by the incorporation of fantastic programs like VIP, they are amazing. The survey is also great! I personally felt like it would have been good to be able to report for children in more than 9-12 th grade on the parent survey. I also felt the answers were directed and not open ended, however it is progress. I am thrilled that this survey was even created. It is proof that our voices are starting to gain some traction. We hope a Spanish version will follow as all of these materials are in English so far. I’m sure the next step will be Spanish translations, I have every confidence in that.

    • Ms. Hobbs Everett: Why is it necessary to provide the materials in Spanish, or any other language for that matter?

      To request a Spanish version implies…very strongly…that the “we” you refer to do not have the skills to speak English. If they don’t have the skills to speak English that implies even more strongly that they are not citizens of this country. A person cannot go through the legal immigration and naturalization process of becoming a citizen in this country without displaying the ability to speak English, and it would be literally impossible for a person to be born and raised in this country without learning how to speak English by the time they reach adulthood. Why should city officials take steps to assist people in participating in Haverhill public policy issues who are essentially criminals trespassing illegally in this country?

      Ms. Hobbs-Everett…You proved my point in displaying, once again, your advocacy for the race based organization you represent is an impediment to the progress.

      • Mr. Jack, we unfortunately will probably not agree- that is OK. Spanish translation is important because 30% of our students are Hispanic/Latino and some of their parents do not speak English. As a district “we” have the ability to provide the translations, we have that capacity- so it should be utilized. It is being utilized by the district, and I’m sure it will continue to be utilized.

      • Sorry Jack, you don’t need to be a citizen to attend public school and all who attend public school have the same basic rights.
        Don’t assume everyone who doesn’t speak English to be a “criminal trespassing illegally in this country”, by assuming that you are the bully. And this is coming from a middle-aged white guy who only speaks English.

        • Hi Larry……I think I was pretty clear in providing my logic for explaining how it is that an adult who cannot speak English while being in this country arrives at that point. People are either born in the USA or come here from another country. Part of the process of being a legal citizen of this country is that it is mandatory they learn to speak English.

          If they’re not here illegally, please explain to me your reason on how I am wrong? I welcome your comments.

          • My point is that you can enter the country & live here legally without knowing English (“Green Card” legal permanent resident). We do provide public education for them too, even though they are not citizens. You missed that and concluded they were illegal immigrants, which is what prompted my comment.

  4. Ms. Hobbs Everett, besides the totally incompetent liberal tax and spend mayor who has financially bankrupted the City of Haverhill and uses his office to deny citizens their First Amendment Right to free speech, there is no better local example of why Donald Trump won last week than you!

    Your constant public whining on issues in this city relating to your race based agenda has become very monotonous. No matter how hard officials work to “Make Haverhill Great” you always find something to complain about, or state not enough has been done. Your non-stop victimization ranting is way past the point of being old. I know you see yourself as a race based vocal community organizer fighting for all of the victims you self-identify with, but that is as far from the truth as it can be. You are actually an impediment to the progress that all of the hard working people working in Haverhill public schools strive for every day.

    As usual, you totally avoid the issue of individual responsibility relating to the issues you mention.

    • You beat me to my critique Mr. Jack. My comment is posted just below yours. POSE is NOT complaining bout this policy. We are pleased by the review and update, and thrilled with the survey. I feel the heading is out of context, and I have clarified in my point below. Thank you.