Bullying, taunting won’t be tolerated in youth programs
Children and parents will have to watch the manners and language when the next season of programs through the Cheektowaga Youth and Recreation Department begins.
The town has adopted a zero tolerance policy that is designed to prevent disruptive, unsportsmanlike and inappropriate behavior. While the policy officially went into effect when the Town Board unanimously approved it during its Feb. 6 meeting, participants in youth and recreation programs won’t see it until registration begins for the travel hockey, soccer and inline hockey next month.
Ellen Fischer, executive director of the Youth and Recreation Department, said the idea to create the policy came from the attention the bullying case of Williamsville teenager Jamey Rodemeyer received last year.
“With the events of last fall and the issue of school bullying, we began to think as an entity that deals with young people, we needed a departmentwide polic y,” she said. “Some of the sports already had their own policies, but this covers all programs.”
The policy is a slight adaptation of the one used by the Cheektowaga Soccer Club.
The policy states that harassment, physical contact between participants, defacing property and refusal to comply with lawful or reasonable requests from department personnel will not be tolerated. Anyone found in violation of the policy may receive a verbal warning, a written warning, removal or suspension from the activity, prohibition from future programs, or police intervention. If a parent of a participant violates the policy, the child may also be subject to discipline.
“Even down to the youngest level, there could be issues with bullying and taunting,” Fischer said. “We just want to ensure a positive experience for all people who enroll in our programs.”
When participants register for an activity, they will also receive a copy of the policy.