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Demopolis BOE moves to clarify bullying policy

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education has approved a first reading of an updated student bullying policy.

The school system has been operating with a harassment and intimidation policy, but Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said the new policy would go further in defining bullying.

“This is a stand-alone bullying policy that better defines terms (as compared to) the current policy on harassment,” Kallhoff said.

The policy states, “No student shall engage in nor be subjected to bullying, violence, threats of violence or intimidation by any other student that is based on any of the specific characteristics set forth in this policy.”  The policy goes on to define terms such as bullying, hostile environment, violence, threat, threat of violence, and intimidation. Kallhoff said the policy was provided by the Alabama Department of Education.

With a first reading of the policy approved, the system will host public hearings on Monday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the central office.

If the policy is approved, procedures to enforce the policy will be implemented at each school.

Other items discussed by the board included the following.

• Approved the first reading of a Data Governance Policy, which will allow the superintendent to establish security measures related to board employees and operations.

• Approved to name the auditorium stage at Demopolis High School the “Brian K. Tripp Stage.” Tripp, who graduated from DHS in 2018, was killed in a vehicle accident in November. He was known for his participation and passion for the arts, including being an active member of the school’s Tiger Arts Guild.

• Approved an agreement with Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital to provide occupational therapy services to students.

• Kallhoff announced that registration for the 2019 Pre-K program at Westside Elementary School is upcoming and that there will be four classes, allowing for 70 total students. Those interested may register online or at WES on March 7. A random drawing for placement will be held March 22.

• Approved a personnel report that included the conditional employment of Eric Kilgore as a CNP worker and Kole Thrasher as a career prep teacher, both at Demopolis Middle School. The resignations of Sherri Nettles as a math teacher at DMS and Anthony Bassett of the DHS JROTC program were also accepted as part of the report and Addy Card, a fifth grade teacher, will be transferred to DMS to teach math, effective upon finding  her replacement at U.S. Jones Elementary.

The next BOE meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19, 5:15 p.m., at the central office. The public is invited to attend.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, January 30 issue of the Demopolis Times.)