2013-06-20 / Front Page

Bully report gives insight

Board discusses this, special ed. report

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Area Schools Board of Education met Monday and discussed two reports highlighting the district’s status with bullying incidents and special education. Both reports are part of greater statewide initiatives.

The state now requires every school district receiving federal funding to report as outlined in “Matt’s Safe Schools” law, which was passed in 2011. According to Superintendent Kathy McDonough, reports for both the elementary and high school were complied under the new law, which went into effect for the 2012-13 school year. These reports highlight any instances of bullying.

“They (Emerald Elementary) had one incident that is considered harassment or bullying,” she said. “The report indicates more of a problem with defiance, disrespect and noncompliance being the greatest problem, along with disruption.”

In the middle and high school, the report was divided into groups of male and female, as well as grade levels.

“We had a lot more incidents there,” she said. “He (Principal John Shiner) had 24 incidents involving males and 12 involving females. Interestingly enough, there were no incidents at the 12th grade level; they were all 11th grade or lower.”

McDonough noted that three of the students who were involved in harassments are no longer students in the district, and the staff and administration will continue to be proactive against bullying and harassment.

The second report discussed by board members was the Michigan Special Education Public Reporting – Indicator Report, which was recently released by the state. According to McDonough, the report is more of a “thumbs up, thumbs down” report, which indicated what areas the district passed and failed in – basically, a special education report card from the state.

The district failed to meet two indicators: graduation rate and educational environment. The district’s graduation rate was 62.5 percent, with the state target set at 80 percent. In educational environment, or the amount of time a special education student spends away from their peers in a specialized setting, the school came in at 56 percent. The state target is greater than or equal to 63 percent.

“What you must always be paying attention to in special education is that least restrictive environment,” McDonough explained. “They’re supposed to be as much with their peers as any other situation.”

She added that 80 percent of the special education population needs to be in a regular education setting 80 percent of their day, according to the state’s standard.

“We’ve made some adjustments in next year’s scheduling as far as developmental seminar and other areas where, hopefully, we’ll make that percentage climb,” she said.

She said the data used for the report is from 2011 and 2010, since the state lags in reporting.

“It’s nice to see all the other indicators have thumbs up,” she said.

To view the district’s full report visit www.mischooldata.org/ SpecialEducationEarlyOn/ AnnualPublicReporting/ AnnualPublicReportingSummary. aspx.

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