Message from Superintendent Woodward - District Response to Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying

Message from Superintendent Woodward

Dear Monroe School District Community,

As I shared in a community message after my first 100 days as the Monroe School District Superintendent, I’ve had the privilege of engaging in listening sessions and meetings with many of our community members. Throughout these interactions, one of the common concerns that emerged was regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) in our schools. 

In this video message, I share what these concerns were and some of the steps we’ve taken to address them. You can also read about it in my email below.

There were two main aspects of concerns raised related to HIB:

  1. Frequency of HIB Incidents: Some expressed worries about the frequency of HIB incidents in some of our schools.

  2. Reporting and Response to HIB Incidents: Others highlighted confusion around how to report incidents of HIB and our subsequent procedures for responding.

We have already taken steps to address the latter to help our students, families, and community members better understand how to report incidents of HIB and how we respond. We've created a new webpage on our website dedicated to explaining how anyone can report incidents of HIB and how our school district responds. You can explore this valuable new resource here: www.monroe.wednet.edu/hib.

Additionally, we are actively working to reduce HIB incidents across all our schools as part of our commitment to safe schools. Our main objective is to prevent such incidents from occurring altogether. While this is a goal we are continuing to work toward, we have implemented the following measures to support this effort:

  1. Increased Adult Presence: We believe that having adults present is a powerful deterrent to harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Therefore, we strategically position staff and volunteers in key areas like playgrounds, hallways, cafeterias, and bus zones to minimize conflicts and bullying.

  2. Bullying Prevention Strategies: All of our schools are actively working to increase students’ sense of belonging at school this year by fostering empathy, positive relationships, and a collective responsibility for the well-being of all students. This proactive approach helps create a positive and inclusive environment which, in turn, plays a crucial role in decreasing instances of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

  3. Evidence-Based Curriculum: Our district uses evidence-based curriculum programs like Second Step and Botvin’s LifeSkills Training Program. These programs focus on developing lifelong skills, including emotional recognition, self-control, awareness of others, building positive relationships, and responsible decision-making, all proven to reduce bullying.

When incidents of HIB do occur, we employ supportive measures and disciplinary measures, depending on the circumstances. Those measures can be found on our new HIB webpage, as mentioned above.

I want to thank the many students and community members who have shared their concerns regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying in our schools. Your input has been invaluable in shaping our response.

As we continue to move forward, your ongoing support and collaboration are essential in achieving our goal of preventing HIB incidents altogether. Together, we can ensure a positive and inclusive school environment where every student feels safe and valued.

Thank you for your partnership.

Sincerely,

Shawn Woodward
Superintendent