New Committee Aims To Crackdown On Bullying At Jamestown Public Schools

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Jamestown Public Schools is launching a new committee to address bullying across the district.

On Tuesday night, dozens of parents and other community members turned out to the district’s Board of Education meeting at Jefferson Middle School to voice their concerns.

Last month the issue came to a head when a Jamestown mother spoke out to WNY News Now about a public humiliation stunt in an act of violence and bullying at Jamestown High School. Now, parents are rallying together in hope of enacting change. 

“The reason I’m here speaking today at the board meeting is in light of multiple incidents that occurred already this school year,” stated parent Jennifer Buck. “I’m afraid for my child’s safety while in school. We speak of zero tolerance for bullying, then there should be zero tolerance.”

Jennifer Buck also called for the school’s code of conduct to be reviewed. 

Others, like parent of three Karla Gonzalez, had a different point of view, commending teachers who do their best to keep students safe.

“Our concerns were taken seriously and immediately investigated,” explained Gonzalez. “As much as I generally appreciate each of their efforts, it doesn’t change the fact that our schools and students are facing challenges that require more than reactive efforts.”  

Another parent, Jesse Milne, who has two children, one at Persell Middle School and another at Jamestown High School, wants additional security measures.

“I would like to refer back to the new technology that Buffalo and Niagara Falls put into place, or voted on this week,“ said Jesse Milne. “They’re not metal detectors, they’re concealed weapon detectors. Two totally different things, 60 people a minute can pass through these units. So basically 23 minutes the whole highschool could be inside.”   

To help address issues, Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker and the school board are launching a Safety and Security Committee. 

“We need to define what the outcomes that we want to have happen, or that we want to see, and then we have to research what are the best practices that get us to those things. And very often when dealing with people it’s not a thing,” explained Dr. Whitaker. “It’s not a one thing that solves the problem, it’s usually multiple things. So it involves research, it involves learning about what other schools may have done that are successful, whether it’s programs, additional folks, parent workshops, whatever it happens to be.” 

Dr. Whitaker touted several steps to make the school district safer, including the reinstatement of SROs, threat assessment issues, upgrading cameras, the hiring of a Safety and Security Supervisor, among many other steps. 

The Superintendent also says he will consider rolling out new protocols and metal detectors if that is the best direction for the school system to take.


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