As another calendar year comes to an end, we find ourselves naturally reflecting on the events of 2016, not only in the Hudson City School District and local community, but nationally and worldwide.
Many of us–not just educators–are heartbroken to see recent media reports of increased bullying and insensitive comments in schools across the nation. The frequency of these reports seems to be on the rise, even as many schools finished activities for National Bullying Prevention Month in October.
In light of these reports arising from other schools and communities, please be assured that the Hudson City School District and Board of Education are committed to providing an educational environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality that is free from all forms of harassment. These are important values at the HCSD.
With ongoing programs such as Power of Peace and Too Good for Violence, our hope is that the education provided in our schools has helped prepare our students to rise above the harmful negativity circulating the air waves and support one another. The mission of the HCSD is, “…in partnership with our community, advances the intellectual, social and emotional development of all students to prepare them for college, career and citizenship.” This mission captures our focus and commitment to providing all students with a safe and supportive school environment based on mutual respect, acceptance, and freedom from discrimination and harassment so that they can focus on succeeding in their developmental and academic goals.
Ongoing programs, activities and clubs at HCSD that aim to combat bullying and harassment include but are not limited to:
- Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS, at all HCSD schools)
- Unity Day (all HCSD schools participated in this national anti-bullying awareness event)
- Power of Peace at Hudson Jr./Sr. High School (focuses on the consideration of other perspectives and encourages tolerance, acceptance and empathy)
- Gay Straight Alliance at Hudson Jr./Sr. High School
- Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) at Hudson Sr. High School
- “Unified” sports at Hudson Jr./Sr. High School (students in Varsity Club team up with Special Education students for competitions such as bocce ball)
- Too Good for Violence at John L. Edwards Primary School (encourages respect between peers and celebrates diversity)
We are a district that prides itself on its diversity, and I am very proud to lead a district that is accepting of so many cultures and backgrounds. I am also proud of how our students and staff conduct themselves on a daily basis. We will continue to promote a positive, safe and welcoming learning environment in all of our schools.
Although being proactive is our main objective, we have policies and procedures in place to address situations if any such issues should arise. Please let the children in your life know that they can speak to a staff member, their teachers, a counselor or school administrator if they experience a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable. Additionally, if you and/or your child(ren) experience or witness any sort of bullying or harassment, including cyberbullying, we encourage you to report it to one of our DASA Coordinators (Dignity for All Students Act) so that we can respond accordingly. Their contact information is as follows:
- JLE Primary School – Kerri Appelbaum, (518) 828-4360 ext. 4315, AppelbaumK@hudsoncsd.org
- MCS Intermediate School – Christina Lauria, (518) 828-4360 ext. 1127, LauriaC@hudsoncsd.org
- Junior/Senior High School – Eric Clark, (518) 828-4360 ext. 8305, ClarkE@hudsoncsd.org
Information about DASA, including incident reporting procedures and forms, is available to all in our school community and can be found under the “District Information” tab on our website (www.hudsoncityschooldistrict.com). Please call the Main Office of your child’s school if you need assistance or have any questions.
It is largely to our advantage that we are one of the most diverse school districts in the area. We will continue to teach our students the values of diversity, acceptance and compassion. Just like ecosystems require biodiversity to thrive, so does our nation.
We also call on you, the families and friends of our students, to communicate with our youth and further encourage respect, kindness, tolerance, empathy and understanding. It is our hope that we—the school district, families and the community—can work together to teach our youth how to effectively live and coexist with others in an ever-changing, diverse world.
Wishing you all a peaceful and Happy New Year.