Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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January 31, 2013

'Bullying' incident at R-H results in firing


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

Baker, who according to school board meeting minutes was to earn $7,903 as varsity head coach, could not be reached for comment. He has been replaced by junior varsity coach John Grzmala

Reigle also said that as a result of this incident, there will be a female chaperone placed in the girls' locker room for all future girls games involving teams that have a male Roy-Hart coach.

Prior to the start of the basketball season, Roy-Hart, like most area school districts, has its student-athletes sign contracts pledging not to smoke, drink, do drugs or bully anyone.

“Whether it's bullying, hazing, cyber bullying, I won't get into, but there's been a significant emphasis placed on these types of things. This past summer, New York state passed the Dignity for All Students Act — a significant event in getting that legislation passed being the Jamey Rodemeyer incident.”

Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old Williamsville North freshman, committed suicide in September 2011 after being bullied at school by classmates. The incident, which gained international attention, resulted in the state's new legislation being passed in less than a year.

“Laws and policies have changed which puts more emphasis on reporting incidents of this type. It isn't just who witnessed it anymore, it's even if you suspect it,” MacDonald said. “Our culture hasn't caught up yet to the importance of this issue and the importance of taking action to stop these types of things from happening.”

MacDonald said as part of the investigation, every girls basketball player on the Roy-Hart team was interviewed, as well as parents and other school officials. 

“Moving forward, the district will also provide further training to provide additional tools for the team to avoid similar things from occurring in the future,” MacDonald said.

“Roy-Hart Central Schools takes these incidents seriously, especially in light of recent similar such incidents and the newly-enacted Dignity for All Students Act, which went into effect in July of 2012. The district is appreciative of the cooperation it's received in the course of this investigation and hope we can put this behind us and the team is able to finish out its season.”



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