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Published July 02 2012

Some schools miss bullying policy deadline

BISMARCK –Two dozen school systems did not meet the July 1 deadline for turning in school bullying policies as ordered by state law.

The Department of Public Instruction received 205 policies before the deadline and received Dickinson Catholic Schools’ policy on Monday for a total of 206, said Val Fischer, director of safe and healthy schools.

Overall, 229 policies should have been in as of July 1. This is a slight decrease from the original 235 expected due to schools that dissolved and preschool programs that were removed from the list.

The Department of Public Instruction was required to collect each district’s policy but wasn’t given legislative authority beyond that, Fischer said.

“Subsequently, no further action will be taken with those districts who failed to submit,” she said.

Schools that haven’t submitted a policy yet are mostly private schools with small enrollments, she said.

Dickinson Trinity Superintendent Kelly Koppinger said the school system took longer to finalize its policy to ensure it was done right. Final approval occurred last week — before the state’s policy deadline — and the policy just needed to be sent to the state, he said.

Carrie Pierce, a spokeswoman for Fargo’s Oak Grove Lutheran Schools, said they also had an approved policy on its way to the state.

In March 2011, the Legislature approved a law requiring school districts to have bullying policies. Both public and private schools fall under the law.