eSN: Walk us through it.
LL: What happens is that an allegation will come in, maybe an allegation from the outside, through our website and it’s entered as a Laserfiche form. It pops up in all of our inboxes. So we know that there’s an allegation that has been made. The principal reviews. They assign it to one of the assistant principals. The assistant principal opens it up, it pre-populates into an investigation, and then they can start working the process. If an allegation has not been touched for five days, we get an alert, because they’ll only have five more days to finish that investigation. If an investigation has not been complete, we’ll get an alert.
So it helps us stay on track as well as work through all the specifics of an investigation. There are a lot of pieces in the state of Texas to make sure that we’re covering and then we also monitor it from the district level. We can also provide feedback
eSN: Have you noticed a change in behavior patterns since the pandemic?
LL: I think one of the differences between pre-pandemic and now is with less children in the school, there is a little less opportunity, but they figure out their way. Cyberbullying seems to be something that we’re having to deal with just a little bit more.
But it’s very different than it was. We used to run around dealing with social posts quite a bit before, and now it’s more of like what’s happening on the chat, and private messages and things that are said in breakout rooms and those sorts of things. But then we’re also dealing with things at the campus level that are in alignment with harassment and people being much more sensitive to social justice issues.
eSN: Talk a little bit about how the dynamics of managing student behavior has changed because of this?
Well, when you can mute somebody, that does help—you know, maybe put someone in the waiting room. I’ve even seen the benefits of online meetings and getting people together. It was crazy at first, but it’s kind of personalized just because there’s a little less distraction. Even with the counseling groups, I can see that there’s some intimacy that it is surprising. I didn’t quite expect that. However, with our students that struggle—either academically, emotionally, or with their home lives—it’s not a safe environment for them.
eSN: What are your hopes going forward?
LL: Hopefully in 21-22, we’ll get a little bit more sense of normalcy and I foresee bringing all of our population back together. There will be some climate and culture issues that we’re going to need to make sure that we’re not only proactive about, but that we’re also responding appropriately so that people see our kids are safe. And so the response part of that is the bullying and harassment investigation process. We want to make sure that that piece is very solid and thorough. But we also want to give equal time to proactive, productive, positive relationship building.