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Kings Park school committee to propose disciplinary policy changes to target bullying

Kings Park High School at 200 East Main

Kings Park High School at 200 East Main St. houses students grades 9 through 12. It is the only high school in the Kings Park Central School District. (June 27, 2012) Credit: Fran Berkman

A Kings Park School District committee will present at today’s board of education meeting proposed changes to the district’s disciplinary policy aimed at cracking down on school bullying.

The changes — proposed by a committee of about 25 members, including students in grades 4-12, parents, teachers, staff and administrators — focus on strengthening anti-bullying language, Superintendent Susan Agruso said.

Inappropriate use of cameras in electronic devices was upgraded to a higher level of an infraction with a steeper corresponding disciplinary action, such as community service and suspension of privileges for up to five weeks. Punishment for inappropriate texting and use of social media, a new infraction, can include a superintendent’s hearing and being barred from earning a Regents diploma.

Assistant superintendent Ralph Cartisano, who chairs the discipline committee, said it is important “our code of conduct reflects changes in social media, which not always but more frequently is used as] an avenue for bullying.”

The New York State Dignity for All Students Act focused on developing strategies to combat bullying, said Cartisano, which students on the committee have taken to heart, making their input even more valuable.

“They are very clear on how the technology changes, and that varies from year to year,” he said. “What is the number one thing this year, that could be different next year.”

A second reading of all proposed changes — Agruso said she also plans to bring up a potential change on the cellphone policy — will be presented along with a public hearing at the next board meeting on June 25, officials said.

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