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Port Chester Schools, Community Renew Focus On Bullying

Port Chester schools have increased the training for teachers on how to deal with bullying, and will be focusing more on cyberbullying.
Port Chester schools have increased the training for teachers on how to deal with bullying, and will be focusing more on cyberbullying. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- With the new school year kicking off on Monday, the Port Chester School District and members of the community are doing more to address the issue of bullying in the schools.

Earlier this summer a group of residents formed a new committee dedicated to stopping bullying, in response to an article in the Westmore News about a student who allegedly slit her wrists after being bullied this spring. The group, dubbed the Port Chester/Sound Shore Anti-Bullying Consortium, was founded by James Carriere, Steve Carroll and Tom Corbia, and has continued to grow.

"We want to do a part. We sincerely believe that we can do more. We're not saying that the school district needs to do more, but maybe the community needs to do more," said Corbia. He added that he has been in contact with members of neighboring communities about possibly expanding the group outside Port Chester. During a radio interview, he was contacted by the head of the New York City Chamber of Commerce, who offered to help out with the group's mission.

The group will be holding a golf tournament fundraiser on Oct. 7 at Doral Arrowood win Rye Brook. The tournament will be a shotgun style, where participants each start on a different hole. There will also be a dinner, as well as raffles, with proceeds going to supply help not only to victims of bullying, but also the bullies themselves. The event will be $145, or $35 for just dinner.

Superintendent Edward Kliszus said that the school's bullying policy was updated in the summer. He also said that teachers underwent bullying training during the superintendent conference days at the end of the summer, and that the training will filter down to the classroom.

"One of the changes is that it's now crystal clear that cyberbullying is our responsibility," he said. "It doesn't matter where it occurred. They could be on vacation overseas. If the kids are bullying and it comes to the schools, we will address it."

The Anti-Bullying Consortium also brought their concerns to the village Board of Trustees, which issued a declaration that October will be Anti-Bullying Month.

"This is serious business," said Mayor Neil Pagano. "The tolerance level at all levels of learning has to be zero."

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