COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Students in Columbia have asked the school district to augment its education about bullying.
In grades 6 to 8, students have a 50-minute lecture once a year about the issues of bullying, suicide and depression. The group of ninth-graders from West Junior High School told the Columbia Public Schools policy committee Thursday there should be a monthly class about the issues, according to The Columbia Daily Tribune.
“Right now it’s only a 50-minute thing once a year, and that’s not enough,” said 15-year-old Chandler Randol. “You forget it over the year if it’s not enforced.”
Randol and his classmate, Haley Benson, told the committee the class could cycle through the schedule so as not to take away time from any one class.
They also said they have witnessed bullying within their own school.
“I’ve never really experienced it personally, but I know from my friends how much it can hurt,” Benson said.
The pair represented a team of West Junior students that earned second place recently for its bullying proposal in the statewide “Project Citizen” competition.
Almost immediately after the state competition, the team approached Superintendent Chris Belcher about changing the policy. They said Belcher and committee members were receptive to their ideas, and the committee immediately started discussing how to make the proposal a reality at the meeting Thursday.
“I think we need to look at the curriculum and decide where this could be implemented,” said Susan McClintic, president of the Columbia Missouri National Education Association.
The committee said the next step will be to approach the district’s curriculum coordinator to see where intermediate-level curriculum could be modified to include more education about bullying and suicide.
“I think with everything going on now with social media, the middle level is really where it should be,” Belcher said.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com