Dr. Lisha Cabral, Superintendent
50 Oliver St.
North Easton, MA 02356
For Immediate Release
Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Email: [email protected]
Easton Public School District Reports Progress to School Committee Following Recent Incidents
EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral reports that several short-term and long-term initiatives by the Easton Public School District were presented at the Easton School Committee meeting Thursday night, some of which were in response to two incidents involving inappropriate behavior among students in recent weeks.
“After listening to feedback from students, parents and community members these past few weeks, we are looking at this as an opportunity to focus on ways that the district can make sure that all students and staff feel comfortable and safe in our schools,” Superintendent Cabral said. “As a district we are always looking for ways to enhance the services we offer, and I believe we have a solid plan to do that over the next several weeks and months.”
At the Pre-K through grade five level, a Principal Box will be placed in each elementary school where students can leave written messages about issues they may be having at school or at home. The messages can be anonymous or include the student’s name.
Also at the elementary schools, a Peaceful Playgrounds program will be implemented where students at recess, who would like a more structured environment outside of free play, can play games and take part in activities with other students under the supervision of a recess aid. Participation in the program is voluntary and students decide if and when they would like to take part. The program is meant to provide an avenue for students who may feel picked on or marginalized at times during recess and want to take part in more positive activities.
At the middle school and high school, the district is working on an electronic tip line where students can report non-emergency situations and incidents directly to school staff. The messages will go to each school’s central office and will then be given to the appropriate school official to handle in a timely fashion.
With guidance from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Superintendent Cabral is considering implementing a Peer Training Program for middle and high school students.
According to the ADL website, the Peer Training Program “provides diverse groups of students in grades 7-12 with the opportunity to facilitate and sustain positive social change in their schools. Each group of students is trained to lead developmentally appropriate activities and discussions with their peers on bias-related issues such as bullying and cyberbullying. Participants also develop safe and practical prevention and response strategies to these and other prejudicial behaviors, including the ways in which young people can become allies for their peers who are targeted.”
A survey for middle school and high school students will be given out in the coming weeks to help gauge students’ current sense of climate and culture.
The district is in the process of forming a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, comprised of students, parents, community members, a school committee member and a member of the town’s human rights committee. Once formed, the committee will use the results of the student survey to help guide their purview and work on long-term, lasting initiatives to ensure that students’ needs are being met inside and outside of the classroom.
District-wide, school officials are working on a “Who is on Your Team?” campaign in an effort to remind students that they have multiple resources they can go to for help in addition to their teacher or principal. Students should feel comfortable in knowing that all adults in the school are trusted members of the school community and they can turn to anyone, from para-professionals to custodians to their guidance counselor, when they need a helpful resource. A pamphlet with information will be sent home with students sometime in January.
“While some of these programs are ones that we had already been working on, dealing with issues like bullying and inclusiveness, I feel it is important to let parents and residents know all of the great work being done at our schools. I encourage parents that have more questions about any of these programs to reach out to my office or your school principals,” Superintendent Cabral said. “These are issues that we all must face head on, together at home and at school and we believe these programs will help to facilitate more dialogue and understanding with our students.”