C-A revising anti-bullying, hazing policy

Tougher stance to comply with state law

FLINT TWP. — The Carman-Ainsworth Board of Education took the first step to implement a detailed definition and consequences of bullying and hazing in schools, by conducting the first reading of a comprehensive new policy at its meeting last week.

The district already had an anti-bullying stance on the books but the revised policy is to comply with stricter wording under Matt’s Safe School Law. Passed in December, Matt’s Law requires all school districts, intermediate school districts and public school academies to adopt and implement policies by June 6 of this year.

Copies of the new policy are due to the Michigan Department of Education within 30 days after adoption or no later than June 6.

The law is named for Matt Epling, of East Lansing, who committed suicide in 2002 after being victimized on the last day of eighth grade in a “Welcome to High School’’ hazing incident.

As required by law, C-A’s new policy will include a definition of bullying and hazing, a declaration prohibiting such behavior, a method for reporting incidents by students who feel they have been bullied, protection against retaliation, a description of the complaint investigation procedure and penalties for proven claims, and a record-keeping process to document all reported occurrences.

“It defines it in terms of its effect,’’ said Superintendent Bill Haley of the tougher policy. “It doesn’t matter what you intended, if the bad behavior (adversely) affects somebody than it is bullying.’’

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