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Oct 24, 2012 10:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Eastport South Manor Student Withdraws From High School After Being Bullied

Oct 24, 2012 1:31 PM

Eastport South Manor school community members are taking a stand against bullying after a student attending the high school in Manorville told Board of Education members last week that he has withdrawn from the district because administrators failed to act when he was being bullied by other students both in person and online.

On October 17, the student, who is not being identified because he is a minor and a victim, read a prepared statement to board members outlining his troubles in the district. As part of his statement, which was later posted on the Eastport South Manor community Facebook page, the student said he reported the incidents to several school administrators but that they never took any action.

The student approached the board a little more than two weeks after David H. Hernandez Barros, a 16-year-old junior at East Hampton High School, committed suicide after reportedly being bullied by students because he was gay.

ESM Schools Superintendent Mark Nocero said this week that his district has a very strict no bullying policy, and while he could not comment on a specific incident, said that all reports of bullying are taken very seriously by administrators. He would not confirm if the student in question has, in fact, withdrawn from the district.

“As in all high schools, we recognize that bullying is a concern and have programs in place to address it when it occurs,” Mr. Nocero said. “Our larger concern in recent years has been the use of cyberbullying where students can attack others and do so with relative anonymity.”

But some district parents do not think the administration is doing enough. This week, hundreds of comments in support of the student were posted on the ESM Community page on Facebook. In response to the student’s action, members of the district’s Parent Advocates Group organized a community forum, scheduled for last night, October 24, at JC’s Restaurant at the Pine Hills Golf and Country Club in Manorville. The purpose of the meeting, according to an online invitation, was to spur a dialogue among parents so they can discuss ways to stop bullying.

“We need to discuss how to be aware of bullying and how our children can feel safe while at school,” the invitation states.

The district’s anti-bullying policy, which is available on its website, defines bullying as “intentional conduct, including verbal, physical, or written conduct or an electronic communication that creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, or with a student’s physical or psychological well-being.” The policy, however, offers no specific punishment for those students who are found to be in violation of the policy.

Mr. Nocero said the district is doing all that it can to combat bullies in its schools, but noted that he does not think that bullying is a prevalent problem in ESM as compared with other districts. Students who believe that they are being bullied, whether while in school or online, are encouraged to immediately report the problem to a school administrator who, in turn, is required to file a report. All cases of bullying are then investigated, and a course of action is determined on a case-by-case basis. According to Mr. Nocero, action taken by the district can range from a supervised mediation session between students to disciplinary action.

“We take each and every case that is reported to us seriously,” he said.

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Our schools, families and communities can no longer avoid the subject of bullying. Our schools definitely need to do more. However, bullying and intolerance are learned when a child is pre-school age and bullying happens off of school grounds mostly through the internet. Families need to be more involved and educated. In my own experience, I found that approaching the parents of a bully did nothing as they simply did not get it and saw nothing wrong with their childs' behavior. A school cannot ...more
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Oct 24, 12 10:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
Mrs Sea- then the School should remove the child from the school or place them in restricted supervision until the situations corrected. It is the schools responsibility in every way as long as the children are in the care- custody- and control - on both sides of the equation.
By realistic (472), westhampton on Oct 24, 12 1:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
The article says this child was bullied in school and ONLINE. The problem and solution involves more than just the school.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Oct 24, 12 1:44 PM
if a child is afraid to attend school this is an issue that needs to be addressed from within. Granted it is difficult for a school to deal with cyberbullying -those issues can be addressed by the local PD when evidence is handed to them. It is unacceptable to simply hide what is going on in the school so that "we look good".
By esmsharks (2), manorville on Oct 24, 12 1:52 PM
Of course the problem and solution involves more than just the school. However, the school needs to adhere to and implement their own BOE policies, have zero tolerance and consequences. Along with PBIS as a longer term solution. ONLINE bullying (cyber-bullying) is against BOE policies and there are supposed to be consequences for the behavior, not just mediation. We lost a student at ESM due to feeling unsafe to attend school because he felt administration could not help his issue. That is ...more
By A_Concerned_Parent (37), manorville on Oct 24, 12 3:00 PM
personally - I think that kids these days needs to man up.
By jmazz78 (2), East Moriches on Oct 24, 12 9:10 PM
1 member liked this comment
Schools still wont do anything...the bullies get off all the time. I hope the student in this matter finds a place to learn where they can be accepted.
By Sour09 (18), Hampton Bays on Oct 26, 12 9:29 AM