LONE ROCK - The Lone Rock School Board of Trustees is holding a series of meetings aimed at taking a proactive approach toward school safety and bullying prevention this spring.

“In light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., schools across the nation are looking for effective ways to protect the kids they’re entrusted with,” said school board chairman Dan Metully. “Lone Rock School is no different in its desire to be proactive in protecting our kids. Towards that end, there are a number of things we’ve been doing lately to do just that.”

Metully said that the school is looking into everything possible to make the school a safe learning environment.

“We are looking at procedures and equipment that will make our campus more secure from those who would try to harm our kids,” he said. “Some of these procedures may take some getting used to, as their intent is to make it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to access the buildings on the campus. This is a necessary step, and we hope that those affected will understand that reality.”

Bullying is an issue that every school district faces, and Lone Rock is joining a growing list of schools in western Montana that is adopting the Olweus anti-bullying curriculum.

“If all goes well, we’ll hope to institute that program with the next new school season,” Metully said. “In addition, we have a parent, who is also involved with local youth law enforcement, holding parenting meetings every few months to help keep parents abreast of things to watch for, and ways to help our kids navigate the challenges they face.”

The next meeting will be Thursday, March 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the middle school library.

“There will be an additional representative of Ravalli County law enforcement making a presentation at that time regarding bullying and cyber bullying,” Metully said. “Can we stop all of these issues? Probably not. These problems have existed forever, but if we can stop this for one youngster, or two, or maybe even start to promote a different culture that will lead to a better atmosphere for all of our kids, isn’t that worth all of the effort that we can give? It really is our responsibility as parents and educators to actively promote a safe learning environment for our kids at school. Please come and join us on the 21st. We’ll have the coffee on.”

For more information, call Lone Rock School at 777-3314 or visit www.lonerockschool.org.

Reach reporter David Erickson at 363-3300 or david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

Reporter David Erickson can be reached at david.erickson@ravallirepublic.com.

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