MAPS to form Student Safety Advisory Committee

MANISTEE — Everyone agrees that bullying and school violence are major concerns of every school district in the country.

The Manistee Area Public Schools are forming a Student Safety Advisory Committee to discuss bullying issues in the schools.

The Manistee Area Public Schools are forming a Student Safety Advisory Committee to discuss bullying issues in the schools.

Recent incidents at Manistee High School have prompted school administration and the board of education to form a Student Safety Advisory Committee to address the issue. On Tuesday afternoon the district sent out an email letter to parents detailing the role of this committee and what they hope to accomplish with it in the upcoming weeks.

Superintendent Ron Stoneman said the first meeting would take place beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday in the Manistee Middle/High School Library.

“We will gather to discuss how we can structure this committee, discuss specific focus areas and objectives and plan for developing initiatives,” said Stoneman in the email.

He pointed out that the bullying issue is one that hits home with the entire community and that there is an immediate need to find a solution to the problem.

“We are aware that there is a community effort being organized to discuss the policies of the district, the communication that is needed and the solutions for conflict resolution,” said Stoneman.”We are encouraged by the passion of our community members to become involved in solutions that pertain to the safety of our students and would like to join this conversation.”

Stoneman said the committee will consist of a cross section of the community with a focus on finding solutions to the problems. That is why he urging all who have an interest in being part of the solution to attend the meeting on Monday evening to give their input.

“With this in mind, we would like to invite all members of our community that would like to engage in thoughtful conversation regarding solutions for improving student safety to join us,” said Stoneman.

The committee will include those who have a real stake in making students safe. There will be administration, students, parents, law enforcement and maybe some community mental health officials.

Stoneman stressed the meeting on Monday and the committee meetings will be open to the public to attend and  to voice their concerns.

Stoneman commented that student safety is the top priority for everyone.

“The MAPS administrative team approaches student safety with the utmost concern,” said Stoneman. “We understand that not only do we need to keep our students safe and our community informed, but we need to have a platform to hear community concerns as well.”

The goal of the committee is meet regularly and often in the initial stages.

“It is our hope that this committee can be organized to meet on a regular basis to keep the lines of communication open and work together to implement meaningful solutions to the challenges our students face and to create a community environment where everyone feels supported,” said Stoneman.

A group of concerned citizens and parents have been discussing the issue on social media and meeting to facilitate some ongoing dialogue about moving forward to finding a solution to MAPS bullying problems.

Kelsey Carpenter is part of that group and is a parent and former counselor who has worked with bullying issues. She said the social media group is moving in the right direction.

“I have been very encouraged by the progress that they (the social media group) have made,” said Carpenter. “The work they have been doing is there is an ongoing document in which people have been able to add any questions they have in relation to the topic or any ideas they have for long-term solutions whether it is programs that promote empathy or creative ideas to discourage bullying in the schools. That document is kind of an ongoing piece of work throughout the members of the social media group and what they are going to be doing is actually sharing that with school administration a couple of days before the Monday meeting.”

Carpenter said the goal is to have a productive conversation during Monday’s meeting and that there is a lot of positive feedback happening. She said people are encouraged that the school system is paying attention, and they are looking to listen and to partner together.

“I get the sense that the leaders of the group are excited to talk about ways that community members and school officials can form effective partnerships and talk about real solutions and real next steps and that this just isn’t a conversation that acknowledges a problem and focuses on next steps and solutions,” she said. “I am excited about seeing the progress taking place in seeking ways to brainstorm to partner with the schools and to move forward and to move forward together as one community.”

Carpenter said the formation of the Student Safety Advisory Committee is a great first step and a place to start working to create solutions that can be implemented long term and see how those work.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

Leave a Reply