The Boonville R-1 School District Bullying Advisory Committee will host a town hall forum regarding bullying prevention in the LSE Middle School Auditorium at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, Feb., 27.
“The goal of the forum is to provide education and information about bullying and bullying prevention to our community. While bullying behaviors do exist during school hours and within schools, it is not isolated to schools,” explained Dr. Sarah Marriott, the Assistant Superintendent for Student Services and Boonville School District Superintendent beginning on July 1, 2018.
The town hall forum will feature seven local panelists answering public questions and concerns on bullying and the means to prevent it within the Boonville School District. The panel includes: Amy Bledsoe of the Missouri School Board Association Center for Education Safety, Jeremy Collyott of the Cooper County Juvenile Office, Megan Lane of KRCG News, Taylor Petras of KMIZ News, Dr. Chad Rose of the University of Missouri, Dr. Garima Singh of MU Health Care and Boonville City Attorney Brad Wooldridge.
According to Marriott, each panelist was specially selected for their expertise in bullying and the multiple areas it impacts.
Bledsoe can discuss how school districts can protect all student and implement the policies combating bullying. Collyott can explain how bullying claims are processed legally and prevented at the local level. Lane and Petras stand to add how bullying is covered by the press and the implications of social media and how it is utilized by bullies.
Dr. Rose will bring his experience as an associate professor, researcher and leading expert in the study of bullying behavior at the University of Missouri. Dr. Singh will comment on the psychological effects of bully behaviors from her experience as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the University of Missouri. Wooldridge will contribute on the legal precedents and ramifications of bullying.      
As the first of its kind for the district, the town hall forum was established by Dr. Marriott who attributes the district’s desire to increase awareness of bullying in both the school district and community as a major influence in the need for an event of this nature.
“This is why it is essential that bullying and bullying prevention be approached as a community issue, not just a school-based issue,” elaborated Marriott, “We need to engage our community in this discussion and as educators, we have the ability to start this conversation.”
Established in December 2016, the District Bullying Advisor Committee was formed to address then-new state mandates regarding bullying policies in school districts. The primary purpose of the committee has expanded to address public awareness of bullying and the legal ramifications associated with state policies through means including the town hall meeting on Tuesday.
“Our most powerful tool is education. We want to continue to provide educational opportunities on similar topics so that we may empower and inspire others to join together and support our children and students,” concluded Marriott on the goal impact of the town hall meeting and any future events directed toward combating bullying in the school district and community.