Carmel school board passes strict anti-bullying measure


The Carmel-Clay school board passed an emergency measure Monday night to put an end to school bullying in the district.

The policy outlines what bullying is and what the district should do when someone reports it.

For the first time, the district's anti-bullying policy extends beyond school buildings. That includes any offensive acts, gestures or communication meant to intimidate or belittle any student.

If someone reports an act of bullying, administrators must look into it.

"We will investigate, we will help our students, we will educate the bullies, we will contact the parents," said Director of Student Services Steven Dillon.

That's not new, but the new policy has more reach. It covers cyberbullying and harassment when two or more students are gathered for things like slumber parties or team-building events, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This policy goes into more details, it reflects the requirements in the law, it talks about helping the victim, it talks about helping the bullier learn that it's wrong," Dillon said.

The Carmel district might be more sensitive to the issue of bullying than most districts. In 2010, members of the basketball team hazed younger teammates. The Hamilton County prosecutor indicted some of the players involved.

The new policy could have stopped the abuse before it got that far and the state statute may strengthen it even more.

"Their new policy for us to consider, and possibly, we will replace our policy with that new policy from the state of Indiana," said Dillon.

The school board will vote on the policy at its next full meeting. It passed the plan Monday night on an emergency basis, to get it in place before the first full day of class on Wednesday.