The Westfield School District conducted a school climate survey in May of
fifth, eighth and 10th-graders, as
well as their parents and staff.
Overwhelmingly, parents felt their children were safe in school, according to the results, Superintendent Margaret Dolan said. The staff members surveyed felt similarly.
When students were asked if they felt safe about 10 students in each school did not feel safe.
“That did surprise us,” Dolan said. However, there was no way to indicate why in the survey.
The survey was conducted five months after Newtown and Dolan said perhaps that could be the reason behind it.
Of about 373 fifth graders surveyed, about 45 percent said they felt students at this school are teased, picked on, made fun of, or called names. The survey revealed 30 percent of 8th graders agreed or strongly agreed that students at this school are often teased and picked on and about 40 percent of 10th graders answered that students at this school are often teased and picked on.
Dolan said the district is aware of any incident due to the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying reports so it is possible that all students can be referencing the same incident or incidents base don how the question was worded.
The school safety team is reviewing the results along with the Harassment, intimidation and bullying reports as well as the discrimination reports.
“A large percentage of those that started by texting o on the Internet,” Dolan added. She explained that the school district has been working with students, staff and parents to tackle this problem.
On Sept. 9 the administration had a meeting with each grade level on how to handle social media including sites to stay away from. On Monday Edison and Roosevelt schools had a presentation from the father of a teen that was cyber bullied and committed suicide and in the evening the father gave the same presentation to parents.
“We needed to heighten our efforts as there are more challenges with technology,” Dolan said.
The board members agreed that the report should be continued either each year or bi-annually to compare results. They also suggested adding a “Why?” box to some of the questions or adding follow-ups to receive more complete answers.
A full recap of the report will later be available on the Westfield School District’s website.