Haskins Council backs anti-bullying efforts

HASKINS – The efforts of Otsego Local Schools to eliminate bullying in the district and surrounding
communities received support from village council Tuesday night.
The members heard a presentation from Otsego Elementary counselor Cindy Johnson.
"We all know that bullying doesn’t just happen at school, it basically happens anywhere the kids
go," said Johnson.
Like many districts throughout the county, Otsego utilizes the Olweus bullying prevention program which
includes a number of components, including frequent classroom meetings led by teachers.
Johnson emphasized that the district wanted to ensure the entire Otsego community was involved in helping
the stamp out bullying. Posters featuring this year’s anti-bullying theme, "Kindness," are
hung throughout the school building, and the village councils of Tontogany, Grand Rapids and Weston all
previously signed anti-bullying proclamations. Haskins was the last stop in her series of community
presentations, and the council signed copies of the district’s proclamation, which are to be hung in the
elementary and high school buildings.
As part of Otsego’s program, students caught being kind are given a "kindness card", which they
can then turn in for a pencil in Johnson’s office.
"What we hope to do is going to all of our businesses throughout all of our communities" so
that they can hang up the kindness posters and also hand out the cards, said Johnson.
Council member Nancy Perry suggested Haskins Police officers also be given the cards to hand out to
students.
"I think it sounds like a great program, a very involved program, which is good," said Mayor
Paul Gies. "I wholly support it," he added, saying they would like to hang up one of the
posters in the village hall.
"I think it’s great what the administration is doing," council member Ashley Brooks said of the
district’s community involvement efforts. "I’ve noticed a great change from the superintendent
down."
In other business, council:
• discussed the possibility of creating a village policy to specify how reimbursement for property owners
would be handled if their mailboxes are damaged by snow plows. The discussion began after Village
Administrator Colby Carroll noted Haskins was asked to reimburse a resident more than $80 for a mailbox
reportedly struck by a plow in the Logan Meadows area.
• heard that many of the light poles in the downtown area will need replacing. "We do need to start
working on issues like that gradually," said Gies.
• heard from Carroll that training will be held for all full-time, part-time and auxiliary Police
Department staff in the village on March 23. He said residents may notice increased activity around
Haskins as a result.
"If people call you and ask what’s going on, we’re just cycling training stations for that
day."