School Committeeman Wood Delivers National Presentation on Cyberbullying

Haverhill School Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr. (right) joined Methuen Police Lt. Joseph Aiello to present at the School Safety Advocacy Council's National Conference on Bullying in Jacksonville, Fla. in February 2019. (Courtesy photograph)

Haverhill and the Merrimack Valley were well represented late last month at the School Safety Advocacy Council’s national conference on bullying with School Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr. joining Methuen Police Lt. Joseph Aiello to offer a presentation on the role of social media in cyberbullying.

Wood tells WHAV he joined Aiello and Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon at the Jacksonville, Fla. event to understand how other states across the country protect student from tech-based bullies. According to Wood, the Methuen Police pair are among the nation’s leading experts in law enforcement responses to bullying.

“Technology is always the biggest scare now relative to bullying,” he tells WHAV. “The apps coming out now are going to be harder and harder for schools and law enforcement to track down who’s behind the threats, bullying, et cetera.”

Some of the newer apps circulate material that cannot be screenshot or stored on a server, Wood explains.

Indeed, Wood speaks from experience. The Haverhill native has spent the last six years as a patrolman in another community.

On the heels of Haverhill’s decision to post a resource officer at Nettle Middle School, Wood hopes the action will shift a preconceived notion that all officers do is make arrests at schools.

“Some people are resistant to it they want less police at buildings, not more. That’s kind of an old school view of law enforcement. If you look at the statistics, that’s not the case. Overall, you see officers trying to keep kids out of trouble more than anything.”

The decision to add to Nettle’s staff was made given the fact that Haverhill Police respond to that school more than any other in the city, Wood said.

Action items from the conference Wood plans to implement in Haverhill include a push for professional development on the latest cyberbullying apps, as well as a possible presentation from “The Wire” actor-turned anti-bullying advocate Tray Chaney.

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