Conti: Time to get tough on bullies

City Councilor Richard Conti says it’s time for the city to take a stand against bullies.

Conti proposed the adoption of an anti-bullying policy to the council Tuesday at the urging of the city’s Council on Human Rights.

The group has been dealing with incidents of bullying, including a highly publicized case at Gardner Terrace apartments on Pine Street where senior citizens are alleged to have bullied handicapped persons for more than a year.

The seniors, meanwhile, claim they are victims in a highly-charged conflict.

The policy would be applicable only on city property, but would give the human rights panel another tool to deal with bullying and would stake out a strong position by the city on the problem, Conti said.

“What we’re looking for is a formal statement that bullying is not tolerated in Attleboro,” he said before bringing the proposal to the floor.

“It’s got to be made clear to everyone that that behavior is not acceptable.”

Conti aims to use the school department’s five page anti-bullying policy adopted in 2011 as a blueprint for a citywide plan.

The policy, which may take the form of an ordinance, but would not involve police enforcement, would define bullying and provide measures for prevention, reporting and intervention.

Serious cases of bullying have been reported in recent years throughout the nation, some of which have resulted in suicides of the victims.

While bullying is often associated with young people, age is apparently no bar to bullies.

A number of cases occurring in city elderly housing complexes reflect what has become a nationwide trend.

In separate actions, the city’s Council on Aging enacted a similar policy more than a year ago because of misbehavior by seniors and the city’s personnel committee is considering the addition of an anti-bullying policy to the city employees manual.

The matter was referred to the committee on personnel and human services for discussion.


Sheila Oliver

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