Hopewell Valley Regional School District’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator, Anthony Suozzo, reported current 2016-2017 numbers of students who brought weapons to school, committed acts of vandalism or violence on school property, and who harassed, intimidated, or bullied (HIB) another student. As Suozzo stepped through his report for the Board of Education on Monday night, outlining the District’s proactive programs in curbing such behaviors, he explained, “If we have students that we are aware of who violate the policy (5530R Substance Abuse), our most important job is to make sure they, and their parents, are getting the support they need to get them back on track. We’ve talked about the middle school and identifying at-risk students and focusing services on them to hopefully avoid issues that surface in the high school. Within the number reported for substance abuse, not only does that include repeat offenders, it also includes situations where students refused testing, which is an automatic violation of the policy.”
It was also noted that the one weapons report was generated because a student brought matches to school.
As part of the District’s ongoing effort to reduce the number of “Violence, Vandalism, and Substance Abuse Incident Report” forms that must be filled out, the following programs are in place:
- In August, training was facilitated by Anthony Suozzo, District Anti-Bullying Coordinator, to the administrative team and school anti-bullying specialists
- Counselors are present within each school
- Campus Safety Officers (CSOs) are present in each school
- Strong relationship with the Hopewell Township Police Department (HTPD)
- Student Assistance Counselors (SAC) at the middle and high schools
- Anti-Bullying Specialists designated in each school
- Participation in Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance’s “Healthy Communities Healthy Youth” (HCHY) program
- School clubs and organizations
- State mandated “Violence and Vandalism Awareness Week” (10/17 -10/21) in each school
- State mandated “Week of Respect” (10/4 – 10/7) in each school
- Character education programs
- District’s work on cultural competency
Note that figures 1-5 show the correct numbers reported to the state. An error was made in the “2016-2017 Vandalism and Violence Report” powerpoint presentation, slide labeled “District Incidents 4-Year Trend”. The district confirmed that the numbers associated with school years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 are incorrect.