'We are listening'

Zoe Greszler • Updated May 9, 2017 at 1:17 AM

WILLARD — The Willard school board heard the community’s cry for help and action.

Parents, students and other community members came to Monday night’s meeting to voice their opinions, concerns and ideas on how to end the “bullying epidemic” in this city. The April 2 suicide of 14-year-old Caleb Hershiser of Willard has generated much discussion on the subject.

School board members thanked those who sharing their opinions during the two-hour session.

“We are listening,” said Rod Cok, school board president. “We want to work as hard as you guys to fix this epidemic.”

The board is asking all to attend a community forum work session to share ideas about how to address the growing problem of bullying and to hear what the district already has put in place for the the next school year. The work session will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25 in the high school auditorium.

Superintendent Jeff Ritz provided a little insight about future changes, including a new class for the middle school.

“We are starting next year anti-bullying classes for all middle school, sixth through eighth grade,” he said.

“This will be in conjunction with our one-to-one program. After next year, it will then be pulled back to just sixth graders.”

Ritz said they are also working on ways to involve the entire community, including different groups in Willard to help the students. 

“All schools have this issue; we are not singled out,” he said. “We are going to educate students and staff alike.”

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