The residents will be on hand to raise awareness about a recent suicide that took place in Jamestown by a student who was reported by another local news agency to be enrolled in the school district. The group also plans to voice its concerns to the school district regarding what they feel is a lack of intervention when it comes to bullying and harassment, which can take place both inside city schools, as well as outside of school, including via social media.
According to a public event listing on Facebook entitled “Jamestown School Board – Suicide Awareness,” the host of the event listing states that “This is the time to show the school board this isn’t going away. [Board Members] cannot continue to allow the superintendent to deflect the issues at hand.”
The group does not specifically indicate in the event details what they believe the school superintendent, Bret Apthorpe, is deflecting.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Apthorpe took part in an interview with WRFA and students in a high school government and economics class, and the issue of cyberbullying came up during the discussion.
“We have a 1-800 phone line. It’s called the DASA phone line,” Apthorpe explained to the class. “It’s meant for kids and families to call and report those things. They can do it anonymously. We can then have our councilors go out, check on a student, and make sure they are doing okay.”
DASA stands for the New York State Dignity for All Students Act, which states:
“No student shall be subjected to harassment or bullying by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.”
The school district has more information regarding its DASA policy, as well as numbers to call, posted on its website.
The Jamestown Board of Education will meeting will take place Tuesday, at 6 p.m. at Jamestown High School Auditorium. That meeting is open to the public and public comment will be allowed. Those anyone wishing to speak to the school board must arrive prior to the start of the meeting and sign up as a speaker.
For individuals who are considering harm to themselves or who know someone who may be considering it, they can call the 24/7 National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.