A Good Beginning at Overton High School

I’ve been told that the assembly today was a good beginning and I would like to thank the school administration for taking a great first step in bringing the situation under control. Was today the answer, no. But make no mistake, every great endeavor begins with a first step.

I was informed that there was only a handful of parents in attendance which is unfortunate. Unfortunately, like most, I was unable to take off of work to attend but I understand that the School Resource Officer, Janice , did a fantastic job in beginning to educate students and staff on what bullying actually means. Tonight and over the weekend I will talk to some of the staff, the parents who attended and to some students to get a better idea of what was discussed and the reactions of the students, staff and parents.

I was told that someone observed several students who have advanced the bullying claims expressing dissatisfaction and felt that the meeting was of no consequence and unhelpful. They need to understand that every change in a society has to have a beginning where the majority of the group realizes that there is a problem, what is wrong and what needs to change. Only after the majority can recognize the existence of the problem can things start to change.

That does not mean that it is the end of the process but it is only the beginning of change. I hope the school administration continues to find ways to make a positive impact in this situation. Educating the students, parents, teachers and the administrative staff about bullying and the impact it has is an important part of the process of solving the bullying situation at Overton High School.

I hope that the high school principal and the school superintendent make use of the resources provided by Region VII and I feel that they need to contact the principals and superintendents of schools in the area for advice and suggestions. I know the people at Henderson, John Tyler, Tyler Lee, Longview, Pine Tree, Kilgore, Nacogdoches, Arp, and/or West Rusk school systems would be glad to listen, describe their experiences and offer suggestions. They also shouldn’t hesitate to contact larger school systems in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas for advice and help.

The larger school systems in East Texas and the metropolitan areas will have staff members who have had extensive training on how to handle bullying. Some will have counselors who might be persuaded to directly help counseling both the perpetrators and the victims of bullying.

I sincerely hope that the school administrators and members of the school board will continue their efforts and expand the process and be the leaders our community needs. The Principal and Superintendent both have a difficult path ahead of them. The main goal needs to be establishing a safe atmosphere for the students to obtain an outstanding education! No matter what they do, people will be unhappy and either feel that not enough was done or it went to far.  If they excel at reaching out and getting help and then focus their efforts at reaching the best solution for the students, then they can hold their heads high and be proud of what they accomplished for the school district.

Conversely, if all they do is circle the wagons to protect themselves and to continue to deny the extent of the problem while trying to escape any of the blame and/or responsibility for the bullying problem then they should be considered failures and they will put the students, the school system and the community at risk for violence and guarantee that a significant portion of the students will not receive a quality education in a safe environment. This failure will be shared by the Board of Trustees and the community as a whole. Failure should not be an option and should not be accepted.

Once again, we would like to thank the administration and school board of Overton ISD for starting the beginning of reaching a resolution the bullying situation.