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Cyberbulling cited in new code of conduct for Hamburg schools

Hamburg Central School Board members approved changes in the district’s code of conduct Tuesday night.

“You will see a theme through all of our changes,” said Colleen Kaney, director of student services.

The code was updated with tenets and requirements of New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act prohibiting harassment of students, she said. Particular attention is being paid by the district to cyberbullying, she said.

“We can’t talk about this enough, because it is happening to our students,” Kaney said.

Where the code addresses bullying, it now includes cyberbullying through social media and the Internet, she said. A section was added to prohibited conduct to include the unauthorized video recording of another person. She said the district plans a program for parents next year and will continue efforts to make Fisher Bus drivers more aware of the issue.

A state law that goes into effect this summer requires school districts to take action on harassment that occurs outside school but that has an effect in school or on the school day of students, she noted.

The board also heard a presentation from Nathan Rizzo of Solar Liberty, which has proposed installing solar panels on the high school that the company would own. The district would buy the electricity generated by the panels for 5 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with the 5.2-cent rate that’s now paid. The district could save nearly $15,000 over the next 15 years with the system, he said.

Also, the board tabled a proposal to pay Jeanne M. Tribuzzi $18,750 to train teachers and develop curriculum in the Writers Workshop and Balanced Literacy program. Board member Sally Stephenson said she would vote against the measure because she wanted to know more about it, and because of the cost of the program.

Richard E. Jetter, assistant superintendent of human resources and technology, said 88 elementary teachers have signed up for the training later this month.

The board also recognized the members of the high school varsity girls softball team, who won the state championship. A rally for the team will be held at 8 p.m. Friday in Memorial Park.