Litchfield (Ariz.) Elementary School District OKs New Bullying Policy

Courtney Williams's picture
Friday, October 7, 2011

Bullying took the limelight in an emotional meeting Tuesday when the Litchfield school board unanimously endorsed a new district policy that specifically prohibits harassment based on sexual preference.

A bullied former student, teachers, current students and activists filled the cafeteria at Western Sky Middle School to talk to board members about bullying at campuses in the Litchfield Elementary School District.

Merik Castro, 13, told board members that he was relentlessly bullied and that he lost faith in teachers and administrators, saying they didn't do enough to protect him. On Tuesday, he asked the school to change its policies regarding reporting, intervening and investigating bullying based on sexual orientation.

Teachers, students and parents said one student's experience has been exploited and generalized by the media and worried about the bad press. But they also said bullying has not been tolerated.

At stake is the district's capacity to effectively encourage students to report bullying and to investigate claims properly, because bullying still happens, said Shawn Watt, governing board president.

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