Hudson eyes new bullying rules when school opens

HUDSON—The Hudson City School District (HCSD) kicked of the 2021-22 school year with a Board of Education meeting July 1, where Board members took their oaths of office, designated various officials and welcomed a new head of maintenance.

The board also heard concerns about bullying based on economic status and opened a 30-day comment period on this year’s District Safety Plan.

The board voted to keep Carrie Otty president and Willette Jones vice president. Ms. Otty has been president since 2016, and Ms. Jones has been vice president since 2018. The Board has five additional members: Sage Carter, Mark DePace, Selha Graham, Charles Parmentier, and Lucinda Segar. Mr. DePace and Ms. Graham were elected to the board this year.

Committee assignments are: Ms. Graham, Mr. Parmentier, and Ms. Segar on Policy; Ms. Carter, Mr. DePace and Ms. Jones on Facilities; Ms. Jones and Ms. Otty on Budget ; Ms. Otty, Mr. Parmentier, and Ms. Segar on Audit Committee.

For school district’s attorneys, the board designated the firm of Whitbeck, Benedict, & Smith; for bond attorneys, Rodenhausen, Chule, & Polidoro; for labor relations attorneys, Waxman, Petigrow, and Mayle.

“Are they local?” asked Ms. Graham.

The school district attorney is, said district Human Resources Manager Rachel Rissetto. The firm’s office is in Hudson. But the bond attorney office is in Rhinebeck, and the labor relations attorneys’ office is in Hopewell Junction; both communities are in Dutchess County.

“Did you advertise locally?” persisted Ms. Graham.

“These attorneys have a long relationship with the district,” Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier explained. “I inherited them.” She has been superintendent since 2012.

After the yearly designations, the board renewed district policies. Some policies are designed to prevent student bullying, including bullying for fitting certain demographic descriptions. Mr. DePace suggested expanding the categories to explicitly forbid bullying due to economic status.

“I think that has merit,” said Dr. Suttmeier.

“It would be a significant addition,” said Ms. Segar. “We can bring it up at the next Policy Committee meeting.”

Tyler Kritzman is the new head of maintenance for the Hudson City School District. Photo by Jeanette Wolfberg

The Board presented and welcomed Tyler Kritzman, the new head of maintenance. Mr. Kritzman said he graduated from Hudson High School in 2002 and did Buildings and Grounds work at Columbia Greene Community College for 18 years. “I’m excited to be here,” he said.

Dr. Suttmeier reported that in summer school the social distances for children would be three feet in the classroom and six feet for eating. For September, state guidelines for schools are expected to come soon.

Also at the meeting:

* Dr. Suttmeier announced that HCSD student Jaxon Haigh had won first place nationwide in the National SkillsUSA Championship for CPR/First Aid. Mr. Haigh just graduated from both Hudson High School and Questar III’s EMT Program at Columbia-Greene Community College Education Center. He was “the first Questar student to earn first place in the SkillsUSA Championship,” Dr. Suttmeier reported.

The SkillsUSA Championship “offers students of Career and Technical Education the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership and hands-on occupational skills,” according to the SkillsUSA’s website. Mr. Haigh earned his field’s state championship in April, putting him in the national competition in June, Questar’s website reported. The national competition included both written and practical tests. For the practical test, Mr. Haigh had to demonstrate how he would “control a major bleed.. perform CPR, and identify the cause for a patient not being fully alert,” Questar’s website said.

Dr. Suttmeier also praised High School graduation speaker Jacob Walthour as “so personable” and engaging. Furthermore, she said, at the graduation, “families were so happy, students were so happy.”

The next meeting of the HCSD Board of Education will take place Tuesday, July 20, at 6 p.m., at the Hudson High School library.

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