Area schools taking active role in dealing with school bullying

Boonville schools have been implementing anti-bullying measures to make a better learning atmosphere for the students. These efforts have been in response to past issues and problems that have occurred within the school system.
Around five years ago, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School Principal Alan Lammers started to notice bullying was an issue within the private school. After parents started telling school board members about the problem, Lammers started implementing efforts to deter this problem.
"We felt that we had to respond to the developing situation along with the needs of the families," Lammers said.
Since the school was already using a self-discipline program to assist the students in their everyday behavior, Lammers decided it was necessary to incorporate the anti-bullying part of the program.
Lammers said the program helps teachers, students and faculty identify and respond to the bullying.
"The biggest change was identifying each person's role and helping them respond to the problem, even a bystander," Lammers said.
He explained everyone needs to take an active roll in a situation, even getting someone who is not involved, but who may be nearby to deter the situation.
Lammers has seen a difference since the program has been implemented .
"It helps when everyone knows how to respond to a matter such as this," Lammers said.
Laura Speed Elliott Middle School has taken a similar approach. At the beginning of each year along with each staff meeting, bullying is a topic discussed every time.
"Each time a student goes to a teacher and says they are being bullied, we take it very seriously," LSE Counselor Missy Walker said.
Walker outlined the steps as counselor she takes when the problem is presented to her.
"We begin by documenting all the details very carefully. We ask 'when' it happened, 'how' it happened and 'where' it happened," Walker said.
Walker will ask the victim if witnesses were present and then she continues the investigation. Once she interviews the alleged bullies she hands the issue over to the principal. The principal will handle the subjects according to the provisions in the handbook.
"We do a lot more about bullying now than before," Walker said.