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Are Hauppauge School District's Anti-Bullying Policies Working?

District parents voice concern over whether Hauppauge Public School's anti-bullying policies are working after news of a recent fight at the middle school.

Parents are raising questions about the Hauppauge school district's anti-bullying policies, what are they and whether they are strong enough to protect their children after a recent incident.

Patch reader Beth LaManna posted this question on Hauppauge Patch's Facebook page on Tuesday, " Anti-Bullying programs in your school in the Hauppauge School District, are they working?"

April Buzzanca was quick to respond to LaManna's question.

"Being a parent of two children in a Hauppauge elementary school, I would say, not enough! I think the programs they are implementing would work IF they would punish the child/ren who disobey the rules, which is not happening. I would hate to read about our school in the paper one day," Buzzanca wrote.

The question comes on the heels of an incident at Hauppauge Middle School that has parents concerned. 

Hauppauge parent Rob Scarito raised his concerns about a rumor he had heard about a fight at on Jan. 30. at Tuesday night's board meeting.

"There was an altercation between a group of students at the middle school last week," said Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss. "As a district we followed our code of conduct and addressed the issues that existed.

The superintendent said she could not comment further on the specific incident in question due to the student's right to privacy. Suffolk County police said no report of an incident or fight was made to the Fourth Precinct.

Hauppauge parent Rob Scarito said he is concerned for students' safety. His son was previously burned by another student with a soldering iron, who then received one day of in-school suspension, according to Scarito. He would like to see the district take more action in such cases and stricter penalties for students who bully or harm others.

Our question asks: Do you feel Hauppauge Public School's anti-bully policies are working? Do you feel the Code of Conduct is strong enough, or do you believe more action needs to be taken?

Tell us in the comments below.

Been There February 11, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The Hauppauge School District bullying policies do not work. While the District may tout that they take bullying seriously, they do not. It takes too many calls, letters, e-mails for them to even begin to look into a bullying event. Then, they take ineffective action against the bully. The District prefers that it just all go away without them taking any substantive action (e.g., detention, suspension, parents called, etc.)
Denise LaChapelle February 11, 2012 at 09:58 PM
WOW. I'm the parent of a child at Bretton Woods Elementary, Hauppauge. I SO AGREE that they are not diligent enough. My child was bullied to where we had to change his class because the school "could not stop it". They said they were working on it but "couldn't fix it". They kept letting the little incidents go when the two bullying boys bothered him, then - suprize - next day the same two bad kids are punching him again. It's because they do not have strict, strong consequences for EACH and EVERY time the bullier bothers the victimized child. How could then not get this? It makes me sick !! My poor son. My heart goes out to all the other children who are Hauppauge victims.
Hallie February 13, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Just a suggestion, if "they" can't fix it, it's for multiple reasons. Did they call the parents??????? Did your child try to defend themselves? If so, beware, he/she may get in trouble for striking back. BE SURE TO GET THE PRINCIPAL AND NOT the assistant or secretary. If that doesn't work call Ms. Sullivan-Kris and DEMAND to talk to her BTW She works for us. If the children are physically touching your child and that does not stop, I believe that is an assault, which is illegal which means, YES call the police! Many parents these days don't teach their kids boundaries, you might actually have to go that far to protect your child. It sure will teach the bully a lesson. I'm a parent of a bullied kids as well. I think at one point, we probably all are, so not to defend the school, but keep in mind, they are watching hundreds of kids, many incidents, trying to teach, schedule, keep things in order, what sitatuions is serious, what is a mistake, what is a false claim, what is real, then to decipher all that, they may not realize. You have to be your child's voice. The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
me again February 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Thanks Hallie! Yes, they did call the parents (well, Sometimes). (It was two other boys who were hitting/pushing/bothering him). Great idea on calling the Police ! No, he didn't try to defend himself, but it actually got to where I started to want him to because the school was just not stopping it (and I'm Very not like that) . He's young, first grade. I have told him that he can start to hit back and if the school asks why - to tell them that Momma said he can because the school is not protecting him and stopping the bulliers. He keeps telling me, though, that he won't hit back, he'd get in trouble (he's a truly good kid). Oh, I was in touch with the Principal quite frequently. I did get a hold of Ms. Kris and involve her. Actually, I got him moved out of that class now, to get away from the two bulliers, and now he's Much happier. Yes, absolutely on being a squeaky wheel. I was about as squeaky as one could get. I still do believe, very much, that Bretton Woods often dropped the ball in this bullying case in not having strong consequences (for the bulliers) EACH AND EVERY time my son was bullied. The two bulliers thought they could keep getting away with it sometimes, well, because they could. It's was horrible. HAUPPAUGE, SHAPE UP !
me again February 24, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Oh, question - are the schools not strong enough with discipline against the bulliers as they are afraid of repercussions from the bulliers parents? (A client of mine who is an Assistant Principal in a different county told me that is actually why the schools are not hard on the bulliers.) For example, the bulliers parents saying and pursuing that the school is "too harsh", . . . and such and the school not wanting to get into hot water over that. As the child of the bullied parent, do they feel I'm already in the more vulnerable position and hey, also easier to push around, too (so they let the nonsense continue)? I need to look into assault charges and children and how that works. Things are good for now, but with a school as non-effective as this, I'd better get all my resources in a row.
GiantsDad2012 February 26, 2012 at 11:11 PM
The schools are not afraid of repercussions frm the parents. They pay back the parents in this school district that have a voice and advocate for their kids. You will have a knock at your door with a false claim that they make about you!! They have done this to numerous families. The only problem is that Hauppauge looks like the fool because all of these claims come back unfounded and they are on the brink of being investigated for that. Keep an eye out for further details on that. The admninistrators need to go and the BOE their buddies should follow. It is horrible how these people operate! Let the games begin!!!
me again February 27, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Not sure if I understand, Giants Dad. You mean if someone one speaks up for their bullied child, they go to that child's parents and say that that parent is causing problems/making stories up/invent issues about them (the bullied and their parents)?
HallieS February 29, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Hi Me Again, Keep encouraging your child to stand up for himself. (Karate is great for kids to learn self esteem and confidence.) He/She does need to understand that they have to know when they are defending themselves. I like the 3strike rule, 1. Tell the kid get away from me and don't bother me. I'm none of your business. 2. Get a grown up STAT. 3. they touch you - you fight back!!! Each scenario should be reported to the teacher and yourself. AS a parent let the teacher/principal know about each situation. Document it on your calendar if necesarry. Date, child involved and teacher's name spoken to. Anyone touches your child - Hello Police, my child was assaulted. It's up to the police to investigate that. STay as friendly as you can with the School Staff, you get more with sugar, but be stern and confident and let them know you will NOT accept this behavior. and Why not call the kids parent? They may be extremely offensive. Most parents never believe their sweet little angel can do anything wrong. Again, sorry Parent, don't know if you are aware but this is an ongoing situation, please talk with your child about staying away from mine and I will do the same with mine. Not placing blame, just let's try to avoid further contact. I can go on and on.
HallieS February 29, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I saw something very interesting on the news this morning. Schools across the country refusing a radon study that would have been done for free for them. The majority response from the schools they offered this to was "It will make us look bad". WE don't care. It looks worse when the school does nothing!! Ohio just had a school shooting. What happened there? What did the school officials do or NOT do to prevent it. How many Columbines do we need so that our schools understand. I know there are teachers and staff that do care and there are some that just brush it off. It is very serious, it can lead to murder. Can't get more real. When a child acts as a bully he is reaching out for help. Doing nothing only allows him to grow into a further dysfunctional being. Not fair to a child being victimized. I'll never understand anyone's dismissive behavior on this. FB has been trying to raise awareness and I comend them for that. I only hope it continues and grows and branches out.
HallieS February 29, 2012 at 08:21 PM
bully-movie.net Bully Movie - Official Movie Site www.thebullyproject.com Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America’s bullying crisis. Check it out, the movie is not yet rated. check the site out.
me again February 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Thanks Hallie. You are an amazing woman with great ideas, btw. He did take Karate for awhile but became uninterested and we stopped. I wished he would have liked it more,but you can't force them. Yes, I did document/report every incident. The COPE people (Suffolk County police organization to prevent bullying) told us to put it all in e-mails, as e-mails are traceable by the police. So, I did. I've got a file of about 100 of them. Great idea on informing the police of the incidents. Will do, if it occurs again. As I said, now he is in a new & wonderful class, away from the two bulliers and with a great teacher. I tell you, though, his old teacher - eeesh. They had had COPE (suffolk county police organization for bullying in children) go speak to his class for an extra day. She had told them, "I hear some of you are not behaving" she said. Now, this was done for my child. Great. Teacher then had told me she resents having to take time out of her class to do this ! Woah ! No wonder there are shootings in the school with her attitude. She (teacher) also liked to accuse children, now we are talking first grade, - of "lying". I go to pick him up one day and he says, "Mom, Ms. X called me a liar." Got the teacher on the phone and she says yes, she said that and yes she uses that word. But, she accuses children of lying when she does not know the facts. Fact is she was wrong and he was right. She did that lots. Nothing like victimizing the victim, already.
me again February 29, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Yes, she did guilty before proven innocent. Every darn thing she said that was lying (and it was all silly little trivial things) she was absolutely wrong about. Got a hold of Ms. Kriss and she said to me "She really uses that word? That is not right." Ms. Kris spoke to the teacher about this. Yeah, this one was on a lying crusade. It was about silly things like if he remembered that she wrote the homework on the board or where he left his coat. Hey, he's 6 and has a 6 year old brain - which means sometimes he says it wrong or gets confused. I was sick over this too. I don't do labels (esp., esp. with children), don't use the "lying" word and have a household of LOVE. I want him to grow up happy and confident. I understand he thinks and gives information like a 6 year old, cause - surprize, he is one. I have a household of love, acceptance.. Teacher was on a witch hunt for liars. So much craziness we have dealt with. Oh, and Teacher (thank goodness you are gone) (hope you are not still calling all the children liars and letting them get bullied by their classmates while half the time just saying "stop it boys") Yes, Teacher and Hauppauge School Officials, I hope you are reading this. Thanks so much, Hallie. Prayers to those in Ohio.
HallieS March 01, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Hey Me again! Thank you first of all. Just say it as I see it. I like to believe that most do really care, but there are restrictions laid on people that they can't do everything they wish. AND some are simply ignorant too. Now, as for your son I AM AT A TOTAL LOSS FOR WORDS! Any person, especially a teacher (who should be properly trained) to blatently call a child a liar is extremely disturbed. Basic child Psychology not to talk that way to a child. PLEASE tell me she is no longer teaching here. Is that what I understood from what you wrote? I'm totally dumbfounded by that. She sure doesn't belong on our payroll and I would certainly hope that the School Board would believe this does not represent the way Hauppauge should be teaching. And I would also hope that the Teacher's union sees it as wrong as well. That truly is a disgrace.
me again March 01, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Yes, Ms. X is still teaching there. Yep, craziness, eh? I had frequent chest pain for several months dealing with the nonsense, seriously. She would say she didn't call him a liar, she just told him he was lying (a few times). (He absolutely didn't but even so you don't use that word with them anyway.) She told me she tells the children in her class when they are lying. (Um, first graders often get their stories mixed up and don't say things right is what it really was, not frigging "lying".) But, she was on a witch hunt for liars. Hauppauge told me they like to also teach morals along with their lessons but she took it to the extreme, saw liars everywhere and wanted to burn them at the stake. They were all guilty, guilty, guilty - when. they. weren't. Yo - they are just still beautiful babies who may not say things right and get their stories mixed up. Yes, I spoke to them about the psychology of children and how that age groups ingests words whole, takes labels to heart, etc. He heard "liar". You better believe, I got all over her case for that. Good thing he's out of that class. I told her that it was child abuse and I'd pursue it every which way. Thanks again, so very much, Hallie.
HallieS March 02, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Well, I certainly hope that you push as far to make sure that the teacher is and Ms. Sullivan Kris discuss this deeply and that the teacher may need to have some additional training on "bullying" herself and on her code of conduct. Words are very powerful. Every good teacher knows that as they should. Children do need to learn not to lie, but at their tender age some are deliberate and some are not. She needs to know how to communicate her concern of them not telling the truth in a positive way. I hope this teacher learns something as well from this incident. Stay strong!
me again March 04, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Thanks again, dear Hallie. The teacher was bullying, wasn't she? Yes, I do hope she learned something from it. The first time she accused him was that he had colored on part of a poem. My son tells her that Mom did it. She says, "No, Junior, you are "l--ing", you did it." Fact it, it was late, I was helping him with his homework, and yes, I did it. Absolutely, I was the colorer.. I get her on the phone about the "L" word and she tells me that scenario. I said, "Well, yes, I did it. It was late, I was helping . . . " Silence from her - lots of silence. I tell her (on the phone) that I'm not o.k with that word, he is perceiving it as a label as you use that word so often, please don't use that word, I'm not O.K. with it. Very Next Day she uses the word again. Again, over trivial nonsense that she wrongly accused him of. Eeesh. I became a real mad, angry mamma bear after that and did not let up. As you know, he's in another class now and could not be happier. Thanks for listening, so very, very much.
coco October 07, 2012 at 09:58 PM
My Child has been the target of many of the kids ..Tormented and teased for yr and bullied ... has always walked away from trouble but now over a long period of time my child has felt backed into a corner and pushed back .How much can one kid put up with ? The School is Always Working on it but nothing gets done !!! My child has been tested by their Doctor and he feels that my child is suffering from Depression and Anxiety from all of this ...When will the school district step up and do something , This is not fair to any child all my kid wants to do is get an education and cant .... Need to find myself a good attorney who wont back down from this district and address this growing epidemic that is also killing our children and I Wont be a parent who is burying there child !!!
me again October 07, 2012 at 11:12 PM
So sorry, Coco. After dealing with the same and Bretton Woods being fairly useless, my boy has started to fight back and it's a good thing. I told his school that I'm glad he is standing up for himself physically as they have failed to protect him. After talking to lots of people and a legal friend, I'd next go to the police. File a formal charge against the children every single time. Have you spoke to Ms. Kriss, the district superintendant? She was a bit more useful than the teachers/principal of the school he's in (Bretton Woods). Cause a great big fuss every way you can, scream at them (teacher, principal, Ms. Kriss), call the Police each and every time, threaten, IMO. Hate to be this way but there is no choice.
Naomi corrieri September 06, 2013 at 09:05 PM
I don't know what the Hauppauge district policy is but I think I am about to find out; sooner than later. There's this boy bullying my son who is 2 feel taller than him and much heavier. He is constantly harassing him in school and online. He's even threatened to stab my son. Of course my son doesn't think he will act on it but he is very stressed about returning to school this year and riding the bus with him again. My son lives with his dad in NY, I live in Georgia. My son's dad has confronted this kid on on the phone on several occasions (while he was harassing my son), only for the kid to smear my son's name on Facebook calling him nasty names because his dad had threatened to call the police. The kid called to tell my son he was coming over to hurt him; what was my son's dad to do? The bully is 6' tall, weights >180 lbs and is on several sport teams in the school. His mom, I heard, owns a law firm and probably has no idea her son is doing this. My son is only 5' 6", very passive, friendly, and kind and fears retaliation. I feel somewhat helpless that I live so far away and I've recently undergone hand surgery but even so, if I hear from my son that this kid continues to harass when he returns to school and especially after he has been reported to the principal, I will drive myself to NY with one hand and confront the school myself. I will address the board and threaten to hold them responsible if anything happens to my son as a result of their inaction. I've advised my son to have someone video tape the daily abusive encounters this way we have visual proof. Let it be known, (to the school's officials), that I will not hesitate to make those videos VERY public if they do not find a way to put a stop to this. Bully's should be taken seriously these days; we live in a different world now. I truly hope the principal or someone in charge at the high school reads this post and contacts me before it has to come to that! I know the boy's name and have photos of him.

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