Board meetings are held at school to address progress and any emerging issues. I visited my aunt, a principal in the Northern Carolina district, and attended a school board meeting at Morgan School for observation. The board meeting lasted for nearly two hours, and the people in attendance discussed mental health issues, primarily how it affects their academic success. The school principal explained that their low performance was due to cyberbullying, causing anxiety and self-esteem issues. They selected this as a discussion topic to improve the school climate for the students affected and improve their social, emotional, and behavioral health.
The people in attendance at the school board meeting were two parents from each class, teachers, and the school administrators. I was not surprised by the attendees because each was directly invested in student success. First, their voice matters, allowing them to express their opinions. They also needed to be informed about emerging issues, allowing them to be informed about school policies. I also felt that having parents on the board would make the administrators more accountable for the student’s best interests because they would ask tough questions.
The presenters were a person from the group that attended; a parent, the guidance counselor, and the principal. The principal opened the meeting and recognized the attendance of all present. He then addressed and approved the minutes from the previous meeting, which was about discipline, acknowledging an improvement due to the measures they took to address the lack of discipline among some students. The principal then introduced the school counselor to speak about the adverse effects of cyberbullying and how it was affecting the students. She said several students had reported being bullied by their peers on social media. Some reported being body shamed and bullied in school by the same online people, leading to them losing the morale to go to study or come to school. The counselor added that she requested a meeting to address the emerging situation and find solutions.
The presentations were civil because, even when the arguments became heated due to a difference in opinion, the members present did not raise their voices and listened to each other’s reasoning. For example, some parents suggested that the school forward the names of those bullying others, but others refused, suggesting that the aim was finding a solution, not the perpetrators. When one member suggested a solution, the rest debated it and determined it would be helpful. The solutions they determined were that students would not be allowed to use social media in school, and those who would be found guilty of cyberbullying would be suspended or expelled in severe cases (Lavin, 2023). The classes would have more lessons on cyberbullying and its effects on the students and also impose rules on the consequences of cyberbullying. Although I did not contribute at the meeting, I agreed with all the arguments.
I learned that before a school introduces a policy, the board members must discuss it at length. I also learned communication skills to lead to the most effective conclusions. As a teacher, I will use this information to initiate a debate at school and make sound arguments. I have learned to make sound arguments, listen to others, and arrive at conclusions.
Lavin, S. (2023). School-Wide Bullying Prevention for Middle Schools: How Schools Can Support Teachers’ Understanding and Prevention of Bullying (Doctoral dissertation, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, NORTHRIDGE). https://scholarworks.calstate.edu/downloads/kk91ft07z