RANGELEY — The School Board heard a detailed program on bullying and approved a music instructor at Tuesday’s meeting.

First-grade teacher Donna Brown presented an overview of the problem of bullying and detailed strategies for dealing with it. Brown recently graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a master’s degree in early childhood education. She developed UMF’s bullying study with two colleagues.

Brown said studies show that bullying behavior is more prevalent at the elementary level and that bullies’ behavior is often ongoing. What stood out in her study is that the bully is often a victim too, and in need of support and empathy rather than punitive measures. If bullying behavior is still in place at age 8, the bully stands a one-in-four chance of having a criminal record by age 30.

“It is up to us as teachers to intervene, and help them develop empathy,” Brown said, although she noted that victims prefer to have a friend stand up for them rather than an adult.

The program teaches students to be an “up-stander” rather than a bystander, because when no one speaks up, the bully feels validated. Intervention programs include Stop and Think; Responsive Classroom training; and Bibliotherapy — raising awareness through children’s literature.

Superintendent Sue Pratt added that cyberbullying is an important focus because it often starts outside the school and is hard to spot. She noted that Rangeley students are starting to respond to the discussion, and congratulated teachers for explaining the language and concepts.


Board member William Roy suggested mentoring as a possible tool, and student member Brianna Hall said the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program is addressing that strategy.

Musician Victor Borko was present when the board approved a stipend for his position as instrumental music instructor. He will give lessons to small groups one day a week. Tuition is $75 per semester or $150 for the year. The students will also buy a $10 band lesson book and instruments will be available from multiple sources.

The Rangeley Friends of the Arts is actively pursuing grants to support the program, and Borko will work with them.

Pratt also reported that the new driveway is completed for the school bus parking area.

Rangeley Lakes Regional School Principal Charles Brown attended the first day of the middle school’s field trip, which included a tour of Fort Knox, Bar Harbor and Cadillac Mountain, and inspection of geological features of Sand Beach with teacher Lucy Simonds.

Parent meetings are ongoing, with an open house planned for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 16.

Brown also reported on the seventh annual Peace Day celebration, organized by Shirley Schrader. Flag bearers from the American Legion attended. Students sang the national anthem and read poems and writings about peace, while the staff sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Students made a peace symbol with pinwheels in the lawn and released 12 pigeons to carry their wishes for world peace.

Hall reported that Constitution Day was a success with the Student Council finalizing a constitution for the school. She read the preamble to the board. The Student Council is also working on Spirit Week and the Homecoming Dance.

The board approved the first readings of 21 policies, including truancy; drug, alcohol and tobacco use; student discipline; and procedure for reintegration of students from juvenile correctional facilities. Afterward, they voted to go into executive session.

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