Friday, March 11, 2022

Town Hall

    On Thursday-10-March the Bogota Public School District, and the Bogota Police Department held a Townhall meeting to discuss the concerns of bullying, and other incidents in and around the Schools and the Borough of Bogota.  This was held in-person in the High School Cafeteria and online.  Superintendent Mr. Damian Kennedy address the audience first he told the audience about how the Students reacted to returning to the building, and the factors social media has had on the Student. Superintendent Kennedy gave the legally definition of the word “bullying” he also mentioned the difference  between bullying and a conflict between Students. He said that in cases of bullying the District is allow, and has, investigated reports of incidents that have happen off of school grounds. He showed a graphic of what Parent should look for, in their Children, that may be an indication of them being bullied. Superintendent Kennedy them gave ideas to the Parents so they can have a discussion with their Children on how they are felling. He did acknowledge that in modern times having the time to have even a simple meal time conversation has become harder to do.  He emphasized that having trusted and open communication is a step to learn about the Students school experience, and even the experience of their friends and classmates.
  Superintendent Kennedy then told the audience that if they suspect anything that may be a concern to the health and safety of their Children they should contact school officials. This starts  with the Students Teachers, and does include the school Principal as well  Superintendent Kennedy himself.  He promises to return all correspondent from Parent with in two day, and did it by calling so he can learn more about the situation faster.  Another way of alerting the district of possible adverse behavior, which includes bullying, weapons in the building, threats of violence, or other situation there is a fully anonymous tip line available. This is run by the District and Gaggle named “Speak-Up” which can be access at:  and by calling or text 484-361-4544. This service then alerts the District to what has been reported, and they can investigate the seriousness of the alert. Superintendent Kennedy said that there are cameras in all the public area of all the building. This allows them to study a reported incident and take the needed action. Superintendent Kennedy emphasized that the District can only take action on situation that are brought to there attention.  He asked the Parents to inform the District at the soonest possible time if there  is something that is a concerned to them. 
  Next Bogota Police Chief Daniel Maye spoke to the audience. He talked about the use of social media  has embolden some Students, and some members of the public, to act  in ways that they may not have in the past. He also thanked Superintendent Kennedy and the District with their continuing work with the Police and the Borough to make all resident safer. One example was the filmed altercation earlier in the school years. individuals had been identified and action taken. This was accomplished with both organization working together. One disturbing trend he has learned about is that social media poster can hide their identity which limits the amount of action that can be taken. Chief Daniel Maye was joined by Sargent Geoffrey Cole and Detective Sargent Hector Liriano who gave additional information to the audience. Sargent Cole explained the difference between “On-Campus” meaning all buildings, grounds, including the sports field and sidewalk around the school building themselves. And “Off-Campus” meaning the rest of the Borough, including Public and Private properties, both inside and outside, along with sidewalks & roads. He next said that certain situations the Police  can be involved  and assist in “On-Campus” activities. These include Bullying, Theft, Possession of illegal Substances and Assault.
  “Off-Campus” behavior that will lead to Police involvement includes the same as on-campus violations and additional Criminal Mischief, Vandalism of Property, and other illegal activities. Minor incidents on campus the Police will allow the District what action need to be taken, including the need for Parental action.  Other incident may be moved to  Criminal or Judicial proceeding.
  After this  Detective Liriano spoke on the some of the action that the Police use.  One of the first issued he mentioned that just because a Student is under 18 years old any indent they are involved it may become an item on their record. Three procedures use by the Police when investigating an incident. One is call a curb-side warning. This is use on first time offenders that are observed by an Officer. The Officer will  address the Student at that time. Parental notification may be included. This is not use for possession of illegal substances. and alcohol. Next is called a Station House Adjustment.  This is an alternative method allowing the Police to handle first-time juvenile offenders with minor offenses. This provides immediate consequences, such as community service or restitution, while allowing the juvenile to avoid a formal juvenile delinquency record.  The Police may refer a juvenile for needed services, and, if property has been stolen or damaged, require the juvenile to make restitution in some form. Usually the Police will discuss the offense with the juvenile’s parent or guardian/caregiver and request assurances that the juvenile will not commit any future offenses. The third is a Juvenile Complaint.This is for more serious cases. In these cases the Police may take custody of the individual and detain them. Also a Juvenile record will be created. At this time Chief Maye interjected that during the search to hire Officers a Juvenile Complaint on the candidates record has removed them from consideration. Superintendent Kennedy added to this he said that the goal of both the District and Police are looking to solve problems before they can become serious. And Chief Maye stressed that Bogota has successfully kept Bogota much safer than other local communities.
  During the questions from the Public session is was asked about the interaction of the Police with the Students.  It was answered that through a number of community programs  there is a good relationship on both sides. But the need to communicate with the Students, and the need for the uniform Officers to listen and work with the Student to gain, and keep, their trust.  One is the SLEO Officers assigned to each building. These are retired officers hired by the Police Department to be a level of security for the Staff and Student.  Part of their duty is be present in the hall and in lunch room. They also report to Chief Maye on a daily basis to discuss what the day was like at the school. They also are require to alert the Department when additional  enforcement is need. 
  In their closing statement both Superintendent Kennedy and Chief Maye thanked all who participated in person and online. While it was about 50 people attending it is hope they can communicate this information to others. They also said that this is the first in what will be a series of events to educate and involved the public in health and safety matter within Bogota. The next is for Officers of the hold similar event with each grade level in both the High School and Junior High School.
  Video of this Townhall meeting can be viewed at

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