School board addresses bullying

By Dick Mason, The Observer February 25, 2013 10:24 am

Work session also deals with suicide prevention and weapons in schools

The La Grande School Board will address the issues of bullying, suicide prevention and weapons in schools when it meets Wednesday. 

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Willow Elementary School gym. The board will hold a brief meeting first and then begin the work session.  

The school board will first review the weapons policies the La Grande School District has in place and discuss whether any need to be fine tuned or modified. 

Next Chris Panike, the school district’s director of operations and business, will present  an update on the school district’s  revised emergency action plan. 

The plan addresses what procedures are to be followed in the event of an emergency situation like a fire, earthquake or school intruder. The plan specifically addresses procedures to be followed for an evacuation, an emergency lockout, an emergency lock-in, an active shooter, a bomb threat and other situations.   

The new emergency action plan incorporates ideas obtained  on Dec. 10 when school district officials  attended a federal training session in Baker City on how to prepare schools to respond in the event of a shooting, Panike said. These procedures were presented in the Baker City training session, one put on by Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

La Grande School District Superintendent Larry Glaze will also speak at the work session. Glaze will discuss steps the district is taking to better address bullying and suicide prevention. Glaze will talk about what was learned  from a meeting between school district officials and Center for Human Development representatives Friday.

The district and the CHD met to discuss ways they can better combine their resources to tackle suicide prevention and bullying. 

The meeting was conducted in response to the tragedy involving Jadin Bell, a gay La Grande High School sophomore who died Feb. 3 from injuries suffered in a Jan. 19 suicide attempt. Friends and family said Bell was driven to suicide by bullying. 

The school board will take no action at the Wednesday meeting because formal decisions can not be made during work sessions.