Superintendent defends response to student's anti-bullying video
Published 10:45 am, Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon is defending his response to the anti-bullying video posted last month on YouTube by Bedford Middle School eighth-grade student Alye Pollack after the girl's mother criticized his reaction.
Audra Kruk told the Westport News last week that Landon had failed to return several calls that she and her husband made to him, seeking to arrange an in-person meeting to discuss bullying at Bedford Middle School.
"I think he's unaware of the situation that my daughter has been in since she entered Bedford Middle School," Kruk said last Thursday. "If there is a policy that states that he is to be made aware of every bullying incident, then there is a break in their system, and I'd like it fixed."
Landon on Monday confirmed to the Westport News that he had not returned the calls, saying he feels the Bedford Middle School administration effectively responded to the bullying issues referenced in Pollack's video.
"This was handled most satisfactorily at the building level, and there was no reason for me to get involved with this," he said. "I think the principal, the assistant principals, the guidance counselors and psychologist all dealt with it most effectively."
Landon added that he has no plans to meet with Pollack's parents, but did not rule out meeting with parents in response to future bullying incidents.
"I would look at each case as an individual case," he said, "but in this instance there was no need for me to do so."
Kruk, however, had a different view of the response by Landon and other school administrators to the bullying reported by her daughter.
"I guess he doesn't want to engage in any type of conversation," Kruk said Tuesday. "It was not dealt with at the school level. If it was dealt with at the school level, my daughter never would have created the video."
Alye Pollack addressed the bullying issue again last Sunday when she spoke at a prevention rally at Fairfield University. She cited cyberbullying as a particular cause of concern.
"Everyone has a cell phone and is on Facebook," she said. "You can hide behind your computer and phone and say hurtful things."