The Mars Area School District will implement new programs and initiatives to address concerns over bullying.
A confidential Safety Hotline has been set-up and will be operational beginning Tuesday. Students will be encouraged to call the line to report concerns regarding bullying or school safety. The district says all information will be kept confidential and be reviewed and addressed immediately. The number is 724-625-2720.
District administrators and student-leaders will participate in workshops and seminars. Dr. Christine Herring of Herring Seminars & Consultants, who will present an “Engaging in Uncomfortable Conversations About Race & Ethnicity” workshop for a core group of student-leaders at Mars Area High School on Thursday, May 24. Ashley Lovell, from Passavant Memorial Homes & Subsidiaries Vice President of Corporate Compliance, has volunteered to advise the district’s administration.
The superintendent, Dr. Wesley Shipley, will meet with students during lunch time to get their input on bullying and diversity and what’s going on in their respective schools.
The school board and district administrators say they are continuing to address all district policies regarding bullying, cyberbullying, harassment and discipline. Any recommended policy changes will be posted for public review.
“The district is hopeful that all of these steps will help to improve our school climate and to lead our students, our staff, and the whole of the school community in a positive direction moving forward,” Shipley said in a statement.
The discussion of bullying at Mars was brought to the forefront after an incident in April that led to a physical altercation between two students. Several students and parents then came forward saying bullying at Mars has been a problem for years.