NORMAN — A city councilman voted against a proclamation Tuesday that declared October as National Bullying Prevention Month in Norman.
Councilman Dave Spaulding of Ward 5 gave no reason for his vote against the decree. All other eight council members voted in favor of the proclamation.
Spaulding declined to comment about his vote when questioned during a break in the meeting. He said he “would be happy to have a conversation about it some other time.”
Spaulding did not return telephone calls on Wednesday.
Mayor Cindy Rosenthal signed the proclamation, which denounced bullying and affirmed community efforts to prevent such behavior, particularly in schools.
The proclamation was presented to Norman Public Schools Superintendent Joe Siano and Police Chief Keith Humphrey, both of whom spoke in support of the measure.
“Bullying is a real issue in our district and across the country,” Siano said. “I would like to thank the council for stepping up and making this resolution,” he said.
Humphrey said he thinks the proclamation will help police in efforts to combat bullying.
“Bullying is a serious problem, and this proclamation makes this a priority in our city,” the police chief said.
Task force helped
Rosenthal said a community task force consisting of members of the police department, public schools, the Xenia Institute, local churches and other community stakeholders was formed to address the problem of bullying.
She said task force members developed a definition of bullying “that is all-encompassing and easily understandable for all ages, which is that bullying is repeated, intentional aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power used to inflict emotional distress or physical harm.”
The proclamation lauds police and the school district for taking a leadership role in bullying prevention “and actively working with families, faith-based organizations, social service agencies and others to ensure that the topic of bullying is addressed as a community awareness and education issue.”
At a glance
About the proclamation
The proclamation contains the definition, denounces the behavior and states that bullying occurs “in neighborhoods, playgrounds, schools, work places and through technology, such as the Internet and cellphones.”
Bullying “is the most common form of violence, affecting millions of American children and adolescents annually,” the proclamation reads.
Bullying is a real issue in our district and across the country. I would like to thank the council for stepping up and making this resolution.