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letters | grappling with cases of bullying

Too soon to call for changes to law

Re “Bullying at school: Law should be stronger” (Editorial, Aug. 9): The Globe’s call to strengthen the anti-bullying law seems a rush to judgment. Belle Hankey’s account of horrific suffering at the hand of a bully or bullies at Concord-Carlisle High School is well documented. The lawsuit’s accounts of the high school’s actions, however, are incomplete, as the school district has not had its day in court.

As a former principal, I have investigated several bullying allegations under the state’s new law. It is comprehensive, and districts like the one I formerly worked in have a state-approved, detailed procedure for investigating potential bullying behaviors as well as an array of potential consequences for perpetrators.

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Schools must be accountable for the culture they create and ensure physical and emotional safety for all students. However, until we know all the details of this particular case, it would be premature to call for adjustments. Is this a Concord-Carlisle problem or a problem with the law? Is there a need for more explicit partnerships with law enforcement, both proactively and in response to certain types of bullying investigations? Should there be comprehensive training, not funded in the law, to ensure that school personnel have all the tools and strategies at their disposal for effective implementation?

Until all the facts are in, the law should be left alone.

Emily Ostrower

Newton

The writer is former principal of the Countryside Elementary School in Newton.

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