Published On: Tue, Dec 13th, 2016

New Hope-Solebury School Board To Discuss Expanding School Harassment and Bullying Policies to Include Themselves

New Hope-Solebury School Board President Neale Dougherty (L) and School Superintendent Steven Yanni.

New Hope-Solebury School Board President Neale Dougherty (L) and School Superintendent Steven Yanni.

A committee of the New Hope-Solebury School Board will discuss expanding existing school district harassment and bullying/cyberbullying policies through “language additions” to make them “applicable to board members” in a meeting being held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The “first reading” of the proposed policy changes will also include discussion of a “gender expansive and transgender students” policy, according to the meeting agenda, a subject which may take on growing public attention in the coming months, according to one LGBT activist with knowledge of the situation.

School Board Member Douglas J. McDonough, who drew the ire of students and parents over a controversial Facebook post earlier this month, might be expected to chair Tuesday evening’s meeting, as his successor, Adrienne Deussing will not be formally approved until January, following her Dec. 5 election to board vice-president. But NH-S School District Superintendent Steven M. Yanni said Tuesday that he will head discussion of the policy measures, as he has in the past.

“I will lead them through policies that may be applicable to the board, with the first reading tonight, and a second reading scheduled for the January meeting of the school board sub-committee,” he explained.

“Clearly there are some holes in the policy, and the policy should apply to [school] board members,” said incoming School Board President Neale Dougherty at a Dec. 5 meeting during which McDonough came under fire for a post on Facebook that some considered to have threatened violence. “That language can be changed so it encompasses all school directors.”

Whether or not potentially expanded anti-bullying and harassment policies would be applied retroactively by the school board to a previous situation is not known, confirmed Yanni.

But new policies are often made effective within a given school year — in this case 2016-2017, which could hypothetically leave McDonough open to action by the board, should they decide at some point to take a firmer stance on the controversy. Several key community activists and parents demanding further measures be taken in response to McDonough’s Facebook post are continuing to organize and prepare for a full meeting of the school board being held Dec. 19.







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  1.' Melvin Band says:

    No, Mr. Bowe, the board does not have the power to fire another board member.

  2.' Steve Bowe says:

    Can we just fire this nitwit already and allow the Board to get back to important work!

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