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November 21st Richland School Board Meeting

The Richland School Board met on Monday night. Doudna principal Mark Olson presented information on his school’s anti-bullying efforts.

He said Doudna’s program is a continuation of a similar effort last year that aims to train everyone involved in a bullying situation. This includes the victim, bully, and – just as important – the bystanders who see the actions take place. Olson showed the board a training video that was developed featuring actual Doudna students that help lead the discussions in the classrooms. Board president Paul Corcoran added that as a district-wide policy is being developed in the future, input from parents, teachers and other adults will be necessary.

School building administrators reported on their 1st quarter discipline numbers. While the elementary disciplinary numbers and students involved remained consistent with recent years, it was stated that teachers and administrators aim to create “teachable moments” for the students to help them reflect on their actions. Lincoln 4K teacher and Dean of Students Lisa Stafford said that they are seeing an increase in student behavior issues in that school. She said the goal with the district’s youngest students is to teach behavior and appropriate expectations, but they have more and more families in crisis which has a tremendous effect on the children when they are at school. Stafford said they have been trying to find resources for those families through Social Services and other avenues. Mark Olson said that the new playground equipment at Doudna has made a big difference in reducing the number of playground incidents. Middle School principal Aaron Braund said that missing so many days at the beginning of the school year was detrimental to setting expectations early on. He said that they’ve had to reset the rules and expectations with the students. Overall, Braund said that he spends a large part of his day dealing with discipline at the Middle School. Finally, High School principal Jon Bosworth said that there are several areas that have an effect on student behavior. Those include enrolling them in appropriate classes & programs, having effective staff who foster a positive classroom environment, and having an effective person giving consequences. Bosworth added that there also needs to be an appropriate social media use policy for the entire district to follow.

In other news from the Richland School Board meeting Monday night, it was reported that the high school student council is raising money and making plans to host speaker, consultant, and motivational speaker Mike Smith. The cost to bring him in is about $5,000, and donations for Smith’s visit are being accepted. Finally, the school board accepted monetary gifts to the district – one of which was more than $700 from Lancaster High School to aid flood victims in the Richland District. The student council’s help will be pursued to help distribute those funds.