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Quakertown School Board Hears Bullying and Assault Complaints
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent
2022-11-02

            At last Thursday's Quakertown Community School board meeting, concerned parents took to the podium to deliver serious words in regard to the well-being and safety of their children.

            A mother from Richland Township addressed the board about an incident that occurred with her daughter, a second-grader at Trumbauersville Elementary.

            She stated that her daughter was assaulted by several students on school property during classroom hours on September 29. She said her daughter was "called names, chased, hunted down, pushed to the ground and even held to the ground."

            The mother informed the board and administration that her daughter was punched and a pine cone was shoved into her mouth. The mother showed the pine cone and placed it in front of the president's seat.

            "The school was not even aware that this occurred to my daughter. That is scary. That should scare everyone in this room. They were completely oblivious to the nature and severity of this event," she said.

            She also stated that her daughter has been assaulted since the first incident. "I have lost all confidence that this can be handled at the local level." She informed the board it has been weeks and appropriate actions have not been taken.  "The problem is systemic…Lack of complete adult oversight and support," she said.

            President Jonathan Kern addressed her and apologized for what she, her daughter and family experienced. He stated that the board and administration are taking the matter seriously and that they held a meeting that morning to discuss the incident.

            Another mother, this time from Milford Township, also addressed the board in regard to the bullying of her high school age daughter.  She has emailed members of the board about her concerns.

            She stated that there is a serious problem with the bullying of LGBTQ students at the high school. Her daughter is a member of the Gay Straight Alliance. She has been involved with the group for her four years at high school.  She also told the board that her daughter has been the victim of bullying and assaults and explained that she has personally filed many incident reports, but no one followed up with her.

            Since entering high school in 9th grade, her daughter and other students have experienced bullying in the form of "name-calling, pushing, shoving, throwing things," she said.

            The mother also explained that incident reports have been filed over the years, however the last two years have escalated in bullying and assaults. She explained that intervention needs to occur now. If not, the situation with bullying will intensify and someone will get hurt.  "That's one thing that we don't want," she said.

            A few other community members commented on keeping students safe and taking student assaults seriously.

            Kern thanked everyone for their comments and stated that they are taking the safety of students seriously and that bullying and assaults will not be tolerated.

            In other news, the board unanimously approved the Community Eligibility Provision program for Quakertown and/or Neidig Elementary School. The CEP program is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. The program allows schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students. The program does not require the collection of household applications.

            Schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals. This is based on their participation in other programs, such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

            The financial impact on the district would be the loss of revenue from both paid and reduced meals. Additionally, any school that reaches the threshold will be included. 

            The board also approved the preliminary studies for the proposed baseball field at the 6th-grade center site. Three agreements needed to be executed. They include: ground penetrating radar for utility identification with GPRS for $11,550.00; topographic and boundary survey with Arthur Swallow for $19,700.00; geotechnical testing and soil investigation with Earth Engineering for $10,225.00, a total of $41,475. The preliminary steps and design aspects will be worked on from November through March 2023.


 

 

 

 

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