3 West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Friday, April 13, 2012
Liberty district defines bullying policy
by Sara Clawson staff writer
An Arizona School Boards Association policy on bullying and harassment has led some school districts to create new policies and define who they protect. In April, Gov. Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2415, which requires public school districts to define and prohibit bullying, harassment, cyber bullying and intimidation. It requires districts to have written accounts of reported incidents on file and six year’s worth of documentation. It also says students must have easy access to reporting forms and resources.
The Liberty Elementary School District has not had a formal bullying and harassment policy in place until this week.
On Monday, the Governing Board approved, by a vote of 4 to 1, policy JICK Student Violence, Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying. Board President Lew Coleman abstained from voting. House Bill 2415 assigns to districts responsibility for
background, economic status, size or personal appearance. Harassing behaviors can be direct or indirect and by use of social media.” The Liberty Governing Board decided to approve the statement with one exception. The policy removes the phrase “sexual preference,” and replaces it with “sexual orientation.” The decision was made after consultation with Litchfield Elementary School District Superintendent Julianne Lein, said Andrew Rogers, superintendent for the Liberty district. The Litchfield district altered its policy to “sexual orientation” after public outcry. “[A student] did a very good job of educating us that the proper verbiage is not sexual preference but orientation. Our board did decide to, in fact, change that one word,” said Ann Donahue, public information officer and community liaison for the district. Further, Rogers said altering the verbiage does not take
defining bullying, harassment and intimidation. The Arizona School Boards Association has recommended that school districts include a paragraph defining harassment. They suggest it is defined as follows: “Harassment is intentional behavior by a student or group of students that is disturbing or threatening to another student or group of students. Intentional behaviors that characterize harassment include, but are not limited to, stalking, hazing, social exclusion, name calling, unwanted physical contact and unwelcome verbal or written comments, photographs and graphics. Harassment may be related, but not limited to, race, religious orientation, sexual preference, cultural
“Sexual preference is a term that can ignite passions among adults,” he wrote in the email. “Including such a term will only serve to divide folks according to those who are concerned (as precedent shows) that their ability to protect their child’s innocence is jeopardized and consider this as a first step in the inculcation of alternative lifestyles as perfectly natural lifestyles that children should consider for themselves or those who are concerned that [gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender] lifestyles are getting short shrift and should be positively embraced at the elementary level to ensure we are educating the next generation for maximum inclusivity.” He signed the email with his board president title, but then sent an email apologizing for doing so. “I apologize for any such confusion and/or distress that this
oversight may have caused and assure you that all statements/ opinions contained in the email are solely my own,” he wrote.
away from the policy but adds to student protection. “Having not included the sentence may lead to a perception that we are subtly trying to offer less protection,” Rogers said. “In spending a lot of years dealing with bullying and harassment, perception is very important … it isn’t the intent of the person who’s done the bullying and harassment that matters. It’s the perception of the victim. I think this is a policy where, if there’s a perception among students that by being omitted they are offered less protection, then I think that is something that has the potential to be harmful of students.”
Board President Coleman sent an email Feb. 20 to district residents that questioned the necessity of “sexual preference” as a harassment term.
At the Governing Board meeting, Coleman said he felt current policy as written and suggested by the school board association is sufficient enough for the district. “The number of issues people can fight about never seem to end, but when we focus on our commonality that we all deserve dignity and respect, I feel we’re better off and that’s why I feel the additional sentence, though I understand it makes some people feel less … feel that their concerns are being attended to, I don’t think that it is possible to construct a sentence that makes everybody feel their concerns are being attended to. That’s why I prefer a policy that’s more in line with the existing statute.”
Sara Clawson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Goodyear, county Library District extend IGA for 5 years
by Sara Clawson staff writer
The Maricopa County Library District and city of Goodyear shook hands recently over a new five-year intergovernmental agreement. The agreement extends a previous one
approved by the Goodyear City Council in 2007, and allows the Maricopa County Library District to continue to operate the high-performing Goodyear Branch through 2017, officials said.
and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, acting as the County Board of Library Directors, approved the agreement on March 28. As the library’s operating agent, MCLD
Litchfield Road, Suite 185. It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday
The Goodyear Branch Library is at 250 N.
staffs the facility, purchases books and materials, implements programming and maintains the integrity of the automated systems.
“Our partnership with the Maricopa Library District allows us access to the vast resources of the county’s system in a
Friday the 13th: 2012 offers three times the bad luck
by Brent Whiting staff writer
This will be a bad year for people who are afraid of Friday the 13th. Every year has at least one such Friday,
but three of them will be marked this year, including today, a Friday the 13th. For some people, 2012 will bring three doses of paraskevidekatriaphobia, or a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Is such superstition reasonable? Is Friday the 13th really an unlucky day? What do we learn from history? Earlier this year, on Friday, Jan. 13, the cruise ship Costa Concordia, partially sank after hitting a reef off the Italian coast with 4,252 passengers aboard. For Francesco Schettino, the ship’s captain as well as the passengers on the ship, it was definitely an unlucky day. At least 30 people died in the maritime disaster few people are likely to forget. Today, who knows what terrible misfortunes, if any, may occur on this, the second Friday the 13th of the year? And who can predict what may happen on Friday, July 13, the final Friday the 13th of 2012? There won’t be three more in one year until 2015, 2026 and 2037. Calendar experts say that three Friday the 13ths are the maximum for one year, but that the norm is one or two. For example, there will be two in 2013 — Sept. 13 and Dec. 13 — and just one in 2014, which will fall on June 13. There can be no more than three in one year because of quirks with the Gregorian calendar, which Pope Gregory XIII ordered the Catholic Church to adopt in 1582, according to calendar experts. However, superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th are more difficult to explain, especially bad-luck associations that seem to mark the day
“Friday the 13th is not the problem,” according to Donald Dossey, operator of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C. “It’s the fear of the day —
pronounce it, you’ll be cured.” In any event, bad associations with Friday the 13th are deeply rooted in ancient history, according to Dossey. He traces the fear of the number 13 — triskaidekaphobia — to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner at Vallhalla, the Norse heaven. A 13th person, Loki, an uninvited guest, joined the dinner and brought misfortune to the rest of the group. Also, there is a Biblical association with Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, being the 13th guest at the Last Supper, according to Dossey. On the other hand, Groucho Marx, the American comedian, once remarked, “Thirteen at a table is unlucky only when the hostess has only 12 chops.” Fear of Friday the 13th, and Friday, also can be traced to ancient history. One theory links the superstition to the demise of the Knights Templar, a monastic military order whose members were arrested by King Philip IV of France on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307. Biblical sources also argue Friday is the day on which Adam was offered the forbidden fruit and Jesus was crucified. Whatever the sources, superstitions surrounding the number 13 and Friday the 13th continue to abound today. For example, many high-rise buildings and luxury hotels lack a 13th floor. Elevators skip to the 14th floor from the 12th floor, with no 13 in between. In addition, many airports skip the 13th gate. And some hospitals and hotels regularly have no room No. 13. On Friday, Oct. 13, 1989, there was a mini-crash of the stock market when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 190.98 points, or 6.91 percent. People wary about Friday the 13th may be closely watching the market today. And although some people may be superstitious and squeamish about today, others may use it as a happy springboard to a fun weekend.
paraskevidekatriaphobia,” Dossey added. “I tell my patients once you learn how to
Brent Whiting can be reached by email at email@example.com
warm, inviting library setting with excellent programs for all ages — tots to adults — where people can meet and intermingle and where librarians can help you find answers on the Internet or in books to any question,” Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord said. The Goodyear Branch Library is one of 17 operated by the district. It is also one of the smallest, at only 1,800 square feet. Goodyear officials reported more than 78,000 visitors came through the library doors last fiscal year. Those patrons requested nearly 200,000 titles. By comparison, the branch library at
Gila Bend, which is 2,000-square-feet, saw a circulation of 40,000 titles; the Aguila facility, a 2,500-square-foot library, saw a circulation of 37,704. “This IGA allows the Library District to continue to provide the quality library services Goodyear citizens deserve,” said Max Wilson, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. “Customers are benefiting through the on-going positive relationship we have with city officials who recognize the importance of free access to important community resources, such as the library,” he said.
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