By Christopher Roberson
A group of eighth-grade students recently decided that the bullying at Lynnfield Middle School has been going on long enough. In a letter to parents, Superintendent of Schools Jane Tremblay said 70 eighth-grade students took it upon themselves to address the issue with administrators. “Students shared great concern for the social emotional culture within their grade,” she said. “They expressed a desire to have unacceptable, hurtful behavior stop amongst their peers.”
Tremblay said the students also looked to the administration for help. “They are asking the administration to be instrumental in guiding them as a group to be more respectful to each other and confirmation that students are held accountable when infractions occur,” she said. In response, Tremblay said administrators and guidance counselors will once again meet with the eighth-grade students when they return from spring vacation on April 23.
“One of the initiatives we will begin will be a focus on helping the students gain a deeper understanding of handling social conflicts and develop a positive rapport with each other,” she said.
Tremblay said the new initiatives will be augmented by a curriculum called Owning Up. According to its website, Owning Up is designed to “help young people identify and be critical of social issues in their lives from bullying and harassment in the classroom to systems of power and oppression in the world around them.”
In her letter, Tremblay also asked parents for assistance. “We are urging each of you to have conversations with your children over the vacation week,” she said.
Although the discussions do not have to be long, she said, they should address “the importance of treating each other respectfully” and “reporting hurtful, hateful, mean behavior immediately.”