The writer represents Grafton as a member of the Bellows Falls Union High School School Board.
Originally published in The Commons issue #167 (Wednesday, August 29, 2012).
RE: “Why we’re leaving Bellows Falls,” Viewpoint, Aug. 1:
I’m deeply sorry to hear this story.
I know that the entire WNESU district has worked on anti-bullying measures, off and on (thanks to prodding by parents and former board members like Jan Mitchell-Love), but this piece provides more evidence that what we have done to date has not been as effective as it needs to be.
One of the reasons our town of Grafton sends so few children to Bellows Falls Middle School is because stories like this one make parents worry about what their children’s experiences would be like in a school miles from their home. It’s hard to tell them not to worry when episodes like this come to the surface. It is hardly the first incident of its kind in recent years.
When bullying behavior gets embedded into the neighborhood-and-schoolyard culture, it takes a serious and sustained effort by parents, students, teachers, program managers, and the broader community to drive it back into the shadows.
I hope these parents and others who have experienced bullying and threatening behavior make a point of speaking up, whether in the press or at local community meetings, because it is the only way the issue will get the priority attention it deserves.
Jack Bryar, Grafton
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