Education
4:43 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Greece Students Suspended One Year for Bus Monitor Bullying

The four Greece Middle School students who relentlessly taunted an elderly school bus monitor have been suspended from school and regular bus transportation. They will also be required to perform 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and complete a formal program in bullying prevention

Video of the incident involving the students and bus monitor Karen Klein went viral and eventually led to a dramatic online fundraising campaign for Klein. That fundraiser has topped $665,000 as of Friday afternoon.

The Greece Central School district announced the punishment in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

The four unnamed students will transfer to an alternative education program within the district to keep up their academic progress.

You can read the full statement from the district below:

Greece Central School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams today announced that the due process requirements have been met and the district is able to release the result of their investigation and the assignment of disciplinary consequences for the four Athena Middle School students involved in the mistreatment of their bus monitor.

Following individual meetings this week with school and district administrators, each family waived their right to a hearing and agreed to one-year suspensions from school and regular bus transportation. The Greece Central School District is legally required to provide all students ages 5 to 16 with an education, therefore, during the 2012-13 school year, the students who have been suspended will be transferred to the district Reengagement Center, located in a non-school facility. This alternative education program keeps middle school students on track academically while providing a structured opportunity for students to take responsibility for their actions by completing community service hours and receiving formal instruction related to conduct and behavior that prepares them for a productive future. The program includes a strong parent involvement component. 

Each student will be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and will complete a formal program in bullying prevention, respect and responsibility. In accordance with district policy, if at 30 weeks into the school year the students have completed the conditions of their discipline and are in good standing at the Reengagement Center, they can apply for early readmission to Athena Middle School.

Rarely are school districts able to announce the exact discipline students receive for violations of the Code of Conduct. It was possible in this case because each of the students involved admitted to wrongdoing, accepted the recommended consequences and agreed to permit the district to publicly release the terms of their disciplinary action. The parents and students in this case cooperated fully with our investigation and with the Greece Police investigation, which helped to expedite this process and resolve this matter quickly. We thank the Greece Police Department for their continued partnership and guidance, as well as the many Greece Central School District staff members and school leaders who have worked to resolve this matter.

This summer, Greece Central School District staff, including transportation employees, will continue to take part in previously scheduled bullying prevention trainings. The trainings will include information on New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act, requiring schools to provide a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying on school property, on school buses and at school functions.

Greece Central School District remains committed to bullying prevention efforts through full implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in all schools and the Olweus Bullying Prevention model. In 2011, the district established, and posted on the district website, a clear bullying reporting process that identifies trained staff in each school for parents and students to work with to address bullying and harassment if it occurs. This process will be more highly publicized throughout the district. 

The district is currently completing an internal review of policies, training, reporting and appeals protocols to ensure clear steps that employees and students can take to combat bullying and behavior that cultivates a negative environment of disrespect. This incident does not reflect the majority of Greece students but nonetheless we are committed to full implementation of our discipline policies and Code of Conduct. Those wishing to anonymously report bullying can do so by calling our Safe School Helpline at 1-800-418-6423, extension 359.