Bullying on docket at S’ville High

By Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat April 23, 2013 01:14 pm

PUBLIC MEETING: Summerville Union High School District Board of Education, 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, school library, 17555 Tuolumne Road, Tuolumne.

Summerville Union High School District trustees will review a new set of student conduct policies Wednesday. 

The board adopted a policy on discrimination and harassment at its last regular board meeting April 10, but one of the proposed policies on Wednesday’s agenda deals more broadly with bullying. 

 

The document defines cyberbullying and other types of bullying, summarizes prevention strategies and urges students to notify school staff if they’re bullied. 

The topic of bullying came to the forefront at Summerville High board meetings this winter. 

Parent Al Dieste alleged other students tormented his son, a freshman, to the brink of suicide. He slammed school administrators for what he described as an inadequate, slow and unfair response. 

Dieste’s complaints culminated April 10 in a heated public debate about their truthfulness and effect on the school. Several parents have disputed Dieste’s account of a club devoted to harassing his son.

An investigation into the alleged bullying by Summerville High Superintendent John Keiter placed some of the responsibility for the conflict on Dieste’s son. Dieste appealed the results of the investigation to the school board.

Trustees will likely wrap up their deliberations on the complaint Wednesday, said board President Randy Richter. In a closed-door discussion, they’ll decide whether to modify Keiter’s 22-page report on the bullying, ask for further investigation or uphold it. 

In other Summerville High news, trustees will interview five candidates for superintendent later this week. Keiter is retiring at the end of June. 

“If everything works out, the board will have their candidate picked out by Saturday,” Keiter said. 

He expects to announce the board’s selection next week. 

Summerville High teachers urged the board in February to combine the superintendent and principal positions as a cost-saving measure. 

But the district is hiring a full-time superintendent instead, according to Keiter. 

He has said the principal’s duties would conflict with the role of a superintendent, who negotiates teachers’ contracts, resolves legal issues and deals with state bureaucracy.