Tag Archives: anti-bullying

I Met A Lady, On Prospect Mountain Road, Who Lives In Barnstead and Works In Alton, Who Was Lost Because Her GPS Was Kaput.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘Prospect Mountain Road’ for other posts >>>>


gpslostYes, I went running today. The downstairs thermometer said 7º F (-14º C) which meant that per my own self imposed rules I had to run because the temp. was higher than 5º F (-15º C), which is my cut-off for it being too cold (and dangerous) to run.

So the dogs and I pounded up Prospect Mountain Road all the way up to the second turn off for the cell tower. [I have never been to the tower itself because it is marked private.] Wasn’t too bad. Actually was quite nice in the sun. The dogs love it. Braxton, the Beagle, like all my dogs has become a great snow dog. The cold does not appear to bother him in the slightest.

We were on our way back when this car stops in the middle of the road. I thought the driver was worried about the dogs. Out steps a young lady dressed in a skirt! Wow. I think it was the first time I have seen anybody in Alton, male or female, in a skirt this year. She was very nice.

She told me who she was, what she does, where she came from etc. etc. She was lost. Her GPS was not working. She needed to get to Barnstead, where she lived. She works, daily, in Alton. With the GPS she knows how to get home. But they had detoured her off Route 28 — where they have been doing major road works for months. I suspect that they sent her down Hamwoods so that she could go down Prospect to Rte 28 again. I hope that they had DETOUR signs. Well she turned the wrong way up Prospect.

She, like me, is not from here. She speaks good English, but like me she is not a native English speaker. I didn’t say anything but I realized that therein lay the problem.

Just last week we heard of another ‘foreigner’ who trying to get from Alton to Concord, N.H. (where he lives) USING GPS ended up in historic Concord, MA — after a 3 hours drive! He punched in Concord and accepted the first Concord offered by the GPS without realizing that that there is more than one Concord.

I love GPS. I bought my first GPS in 1998. I don’t use GPS for directions. To me GPS is a portable electronic map that tells me where I am. I am one of this folks, given my advanced age (which predates GPS by decades), that can get anywhere in the world, from ‘A to B’, as long as I have a half way decent map. I was working it out after I met this young lady. I have driven in: the U.K., India, Thailand, U.S., Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. [I can’t honestly remember driving in Ceylon/Sri Lanka. I was 14 when I left. The few times I have visited since, I was driven around.]

And I have driven in all these places, like driving across Denmark to Sweden, in a convertible TR7, way before there was (consumer) GPS. When I first came over here, to work (as opposed to go to school), in February 1985, I was travelling around the U.S. 3 to 4 days a week. Just in my first 10 months in the U.S., February-to-December 1985, I was in the top 2% of Frequent Flyers on both American and United. That was quite a feat (though my feet didn’t touch the ground much). Most of the time I had no idea where I was going. My secretary would give me an envelope and say ‘it is all in there‘. You need to be at BWI in 40 minutes. I would look at the tickets, and what airline I was flying, once I had parked at BWI! I remember going to Kansas City for the first time. Until I was in a rental car, driving, I had no idea that Kansas City was split across two States! I relied on Avis and Hertz maps and the directions they would give me at the rental desk. Didn’t get lost much. Give me a map and we will travel. I, as all my kids know, love maps. I read maps. I study maps. That is why GPS. MORE MAPS. Maps that move. Maps that I can enlarge. Maps that give me perspective.

GPS is a great boon for those that aren’t very conversant in English. I have learned. A ‘relative’ of mine drove all the way from Maryland to here, few years ago, using JUST GPS — actually two GPSs because he wanted backup and confirmation. It was once he was here that it dawned on me. He doesn’t read English very well! Without GPS it would be hard for him to read road signs! Wow.

Ditto for person that went to the wrong Concord. Not able to read English that well. Don’t ask me how they get their licenses.

So …

Yes, I have about 8 (maybe more) GPS APPS on my Android Pad — 2 of them were even PAID APPS. But, I am still as happy with a paper map and yes both our cars have lots of paper maps.

New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) Offers ‘Informal’, 3rd-Party Moderator Program That Can Be Used For Bullying Cases.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘bullying’ for ALL the ‘bullying at ACS’ posts >>>>

Bullying at Alton Central School (ACS) Raises Its Vicious,
Ugly Head Again
 — Dec. 6, 2013.


Click to access N.H. DOE Webpage that spells out program.

Click to access N.H. DOE Webpage that spells out program.


I do not know whether this program works or whether it is yet another damp squib. We only learnt about it last week. Yes, we probably will learn quite a bit more shortly.

What I do know is that this ‘informal’ program, where quite a few of the moderators are volunteer lawyers (yes, pro bono), is administered by:

Stephen W. F. Berwick, CPS/CPM
Coordinator, Dispute Resolution and Constituent Complaints
New Hampshire State Department of Education
Office of Legislation and Hearings
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 271-2299     Fax: (603) 271-4034
www.education.nh.gov

I first met Mr. Berwick in 2011 when we first ran into bullying issues at Alton Central. From my experience we in N.H. are very fortunate to have some outstanding civil service heroes in Concord. If you follow this blog you may have read how ‘Lisa’ from the N.H. Insurance Department — Consumer Complaints helped me get my Anthem ID card. Well, Mr. Berwick is another one of those exceptional folks in Concord.

I was talking to him last week when he told me about this program. He is very bullish on it and that alone is good enough for me.

Just wanted to give YOU a heads up if you are having issues with a school — especially bullying.

You can call up Mr. Berwick directly — at the number shown above (which is on the DOE public Website). He will tell you that that is why he is there: to field constituent concerns. If nothing else you will feel better after you talk to Mr. Berwick.

So think of this as yet another resource, a tool, if you, or more to the point your kids, are confronting bullying in N.H.

All best. Hope this helps.

Alton Central School (ACS), N. H. To Try ‘Courage To Care’ Program, Developed By UNH, In An Effort To Curb Entrenched, Insidious Bullying.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘bullying’ for ALL the ‘bullying at ACS’ posts >>>>

Bullying at Alton Central School (ACS) Raises Its Vicious,
Ugly Head Again
 — Dec. 6, 2013.


couragetocaretb00

The Alton Central School (ACS) Facebook notification that Deanna picked up yesterday.

couragetocaretb11

The YouTube video. Click to access …

couragetocaretb12

Alton Central’s Mikel Lachapelle … start at 0:28 seconds into the YouTube video. Click to access.


Listen carefully to what the Assistant Principal has to say and I tip my hat to him for saying what he did.

Yes, whatever ACS thought it was doing in the past obviously was NOT WORKING.

Thank YOU Mr. Lachapelle for recognizing and publicly acknowledging that.

That is definitely a first step in the right direction.

As I have bemoaned in the past the ACS School Board, in particular, have been doing its best to pretend that bullying is not an issue
— and it is possible that at least one member may have a vested reason for doing so.

So far I have been fairly impressed with Lachapelle. That he is a graduate of the Wheaton College (MA) might have something to do with that.

I will, of course, be keeping an eye on how this pans out.

Merry Christmas.

My May 2013 Post On Alton Central School (ACS) Board And Bullying Issue Getting Widespread Attention!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.



..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Click for original, 'must see' post.

Click for original, ‘must see’ post.

Related posts:
>> Stand Up 2013 N.H. —
>> Nov. 16, 2013.

>> Anti-bullying Rachel’s
>> Challenge at ACS —
>> Sep. 26, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Alton Central’ or ‘bullying‘ from Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


About a month ago I noticed a sudden SPIKE in the interest in this post — which kind of surprised me since, like most things related to ACS other than building renovation, nobody in Alton appears to give a damn about ACS-related matters whether it be Common Core, Strategic Plan involvement, lack of safety glass in the school, Destination Imagination (DI), etc. etc.

The hits have continued daily and I know that MOST are not from within NH. That a kind, gentle lady, a fellow author, commented on it from Nevada shows that this post is getting widespread attention. And I am glad — though it does NOT help us in Alton, N.H. per se.

I, despite my best efforts, have failed miserably in trying to get a modicum of accountability from this outlandishly arrogant, ‘gag the public’, and totally dysfunctional, School Board. Well now at least others can see what I have had to contend with. That is some consolation. If nothing else I will document the charade in my vain, but probably now incorrect, belief that ‘the pen‘ has some might.

Contrary to what some think this blog is read around the world and most of my hits are from OUTSIDE New Hampshire — which delights me no end given that I really am, in the end, a bona fide denizen of the world. Scroll down and check the flag counter at the bottom of the sidebar. Click on it. You might learn something. This site has been visited from 185 countries.


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.



Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


This is my world coverage in the last 365 days.

And here is the kicker.
This is NOT my most popular blog!

That remains popes-and-papacy
that has racked up 227,630 hits
though I haven’t posted on it, on a regular basis, since March!

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.


Alton Central School (ACS) Students Attend November 15, 2013. STAND UP 2013 New Hampshire Anti-Bullying Rally At UNH.

Click to access PROGRAM.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Stand Up 2013 N.H. —
>> Oct. 19, 2013.

>> Anti-bullying Rachel’s
>> Challenge at ACS —
>> Sep. 26, 2013.

++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Alton Central’ or ‘bullying‘ from Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


I still can’t establish by Devanee, who did attend, as to how many other ACS kids went. All I know was that it was a full, full-size school bus. Obviously I can’t also determine whether it was open to all or only selected kids were allowed to attend — and, of course, parents had to consent to it.

Since I could not get her to talk to me about it, I got her to write a 4-page report. She did that first thing this morning after she got back from our run (or my run, her walk) up Prospect Mountain Hill. Per her report there were 40 school buses there. She had claimed that it was broadcast live on ‘radio’. I couldn’t find it and I checked NHPR and YouTube.

Devanee wrote, the following () about ‘Lizzie’. She was a featured speaker and I could find a video of her from this same event — last year. That follows (↓↓). This is good. I am glad. All of this is great stuff.


Click to ENLARGE and read Devanee's words ...

Click to ENLARGE and read Devanee’s words …


Click to access YouTube video. Note that Devanee got all this right about her condition ... only 3 etc. I am impressed. She made her mark.

Click to access YouTube video. Note that Devanee got all this right about her condition … only 3 etc. I am impressed. She made her mark.


Anti-Bullying Week In New Hampshire, November 18 – 22, 2013. STAND UP Rally At UNH. Alton Central Attending.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Anti-bullying Rachel’s Challenge at ACS — Sep. 26, 2013.
++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Alton Central’ or ‘bullying‘ from Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


Click to access official Website.

Click to access official Website.


Facebook page. Click ...

Facebook page. Click …


Anti-Bullying Rachel’s Challenge Program At Alton Central School (ACS) On October 7. Can Parents Attend?

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
++++ Do a SEARCH on ‘Alton Central’ or ‘bullying‘ from Sidebar search trench for other related posts >>>>>


rachel11
rachel12


Looks good. Deanna wants to attend. ACS not sure what the policy is.

Alton Central “Bullying Issue” Much Has Been Happening Behind The Scenes.

Dec2013x125

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> ACS Board dragging heels re. bullying issue … — May 21, 2013.
>> ACS 8th Grader Claims That Bullying Is Alive And Well At ACS
>>Apr. 5, 2013.


Just in case there was anybody out there that thought that I dropped the ball on this important issue far be it from the case. That is not my style. I don’t drop too many balls and I do get a lot done.

Over the last two weeks there has been much happening. There have been a lot of e-mails, numerous phone calls, visits to the SAU office, letters, documents, at least one ‘right to know‘ and even some face-to-face meetings.

But, since many in Alton don’t seem to care about this issue I will not bore you with what has been happening. But, it is very strange to me. From what a few of us can see bullying (in its many forms) would appear to be the biggest threat facing our kids today. Compared to the damages that can be done via bullying concerns about dust in the air kind of pale in comparison. But, still have all of this raw emotion when it come to the school renovation, but deafening apathy when it comes to taking steps to stamp out bullying. Yes, to be fair one other mother e-mailed Deanna with the bullying being experienced by her two kids. From her e-mail we even learned a whole slew of new vocabulary. IF you folks only knew.

Well yesterday there was a very useful and I think productive round-table (as it happened) with Mr. Lander, the Superintendent. After what had been quite a weekend, with at least one very interesting meeting, I called up on Tuesday and requested that meeting. Five of us met with Mr. Lander; Deanna & I, the parents of the young lady who is trying to get this issue addressed and Mr. Steve Miller, the School Board member — who attended as my guest, and as a concerned Alton resident (as opposed to a Board Member). Let me just say that I was ‘happy’ with the meeting as were the other parents.

That is enough.

P.S., That was my first real interaction with Mr. Lander and I was suitably impressed. Steve Miller was right. He had always maintained that I should give him a chance. Thanks Steve.

Have a great weekend.

Alton Central School Board Still Dragging Its Heel On Major Bullying Issue Brought To Its Attention On March 1, 2013.

Dec2013x125

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> ACS 8th Grader Claims That Bullying Is Alive And Well At ACS
>>Apr. 5, 2013.


The crux of the issue here is very simple as I pointed out in my original post 45 days ago.

This young lady is not trying to name names, cause trouble for anyone, or asking for any special treatment for herself or her friends. What she is trying to do, selflessly, is something for the betterment of the whole school when it comes to the very damaging and dangerous issue of bullying.

What she is requesting, partly in her official capacity as Student Council President but also as a deeply caring 8th Grader who will soon be departing ACS, is that the school provide an open forum where kids can talk about bullying in public and together agree on the steps that they can all take to put an end to it. It is basically asking that the  ACS kids be empowered to put an end to bullying on a peer-to-peer basis. It seems laudatory.

If nothing else this bona fide request needs to be discussed in public so that concerned citizens of Alton too can have a say in what is a very crucial issue. We home school Devanee because of the incessant bullying she suffered at ACS. So we sure have skin in this game, which is the reason that I will champion this until we see an equitable resolution.

As I pointed out in my April 5, 2013 post the U.S. Government, www.stop bullying.gov website advocates exactly this type of proactive student involvement. Here is what they say, which is exactly what this young lady is asking for at ACS.

bullyingfed

Click to access ‘stopbullying.gov’.

As I also pointed out, with images and links, other schools around the country promote such forums.

But, the ACS administration and School Board, with the ever conscientious and diligent Steve Miller the exception, does not want to even discuss it. There is something wrong here.

The mother of the young lady, an indefatigable PTSA member, in sheer frustration at how ACS was treating her daughter’s request, wrote to the Board on May 6. On the envelope she clearly stated that she wanted this matter to be discussed in PUBLIC at the next School Board meeting. That was the May 13, 2013 meeting that took place last Monday. We were at that meeting. The Board mentioned that there was a letter that had to be discussed. I knew what it was. It was also mentioned that the parent had indicated that the letter should be discussed in Public. A number of Board members claimed that they were not comfortable with that. So a vote was taken as to whether the letter should be discussed in public. Only Steve Miller voted for the public discussion — and he did so stating that he wanted to honor the parent’s request. The other 4 members voted against. 4-1 against a simple request for transparency by a parent (plus one heck of a taxpayer). Take note. So much by the people, for the people. As Steve Miller pointed, as ever correctly, this issue was being pushed out and pushed out so that it would not come up while the school was still in session — and this young lady still at ACS.

It is very obvious that this has been the administration’s and Board’s (bar Mr. Miller) strategy all along. Drag it into July and then claim that it was no longer relevant because the young lady had left!

This is wrong.

I have, right here in front of me, as scanned PDFs, all three letters: the original to the Board by the 14-year old young lady, the Board’s totally non sequitur response and the mother’s letter to the Board in May. Yes, I also have explicit permission, from the mother, to publish all the letters. I have spoken with the mother quite a few times over the last few days.

She is, understandably, furious.

I have been told that a reporter from the ‘Laconia Daily Sun‘ spoke with the Principal about this issue today. So at least the media has been made aware of it.

The two letters to the Board contain some very disturbing phrases to do with harassment and substance abuse. I have also heard of some telling incidents that have taken place at ACS of late. That some of this is not public knowledge is disconcerting since I am sure other parents would like to know.

So, this, for now, is just a heads up. Tomorrow is another day. I just wanted Alton to know that we are not giving up on this issue. Stay tuned.

P.S., Bullying is not restricted to kids bullying other kids. Bear that in mind.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

Alton Central School 8th Grade Student Council President, In Letter, Claims That Bullying Is Alive And Well At ACS.

Dec2013x125

..
.
by
Anura Guruge


Devanee our daughter was subject to considerable bullying at ACS.

In 2011 it got so bad that I requested a formal investigation per HB 1523.

I redacted a part that is not that relevant to this discussion to avoid folks getting distracted. Click to ENLARGE.

I redacted a part that is not that relevant to this discussion to avoid folks getting distracted. Click to ENLARGE.

It ended up with an ‘independent’ evaluator from Gilford mediating. Then a year later Devanee, accidentally or otherwise, got slapped in the face in the school bus coming home. That is when we decided to homeschool her.

Deanna and I both experienced bullying when young. We are determined that other kids should not go through this same experience.



Yesterday morning I got an e-mail, with an attached letter, from another ACS parent. It was about bullying and had been written by her daughter, 8th Grade Student Council President, to the ACS School Board.

I know the daughter, and for that matter the whole family. Both her brothers were on my 2011 – 2012 Destination Imagination (DI) team, and the mother (who sent me the e-mail) was my Assistant Coach. The author of the letter often attended our DI sessions. Since then I have got to know the whole family. These kids, by any measure, are exceptional. Yes, they did go to private school before coming to ACS. But that is neither here nor there. All I know is that I have great faith in these kids and their parents.

Since the letter has been sent to the School Board I am going to bide my time and in general bite my tongue (though I have made a call to a ‘anti-bullying’ campaigner to give him a ‘heads up’).

There is one KEY thing in this letter that bothers me, and it bothers me so much that I have to address it.

This young lady is NOT trying to cause trouble or get anybody into trouble. To the contrary. She does not want to name names.

She wants to try and SOLVE the problem through student awareness, participation and goodwill.

To me that sounds beyond wonderful. BRAVO.

So, what is she asking?

She would like the school to have Group Seminars and Discussions where the students can discuss bullying.

That is IT. Ok, I could, as ever, be wrong. But, this seems like a great idea to me.

And then comes the bit that has me confounded, and I am going to show an extract of the letter to avoid any misunderstanding:

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

Mr. Lander can WE see these studies that YOU quote?

This is what confuses me. I have done some reading on anti-bullying programs. Everything that I have read indicates that group initiatives, students working with their peers, is the best way to stamp out bullying.



This is from the Federal 'stop bullying.gov' website. Click to access.

This is from the Federal ‘stop bullying.gov’ website. Click to access.


Per Minnesota Public Radio schools in MN appear to encourage this type of assemblies. Click to access.

Per Minnesota Public Radio schools in MN appear to encourage this type of assemblies. Click to access.


So this was ANOTHER 8th grader. Click to access.

So this was ANOTHER 8th grader. Click to access.


Another ... just click.

Another … just click.


An anti-bullying organization has this to say. Click.

An anti-bullying organization has this to say. Click.


You can do your own Googling.

Here is the NH State page on bullying.