Bullying policy debated at Watertown City Council meeting

WATERTOWN, S.D. (KWAT) — There was plenty of pointed and emotional debate at Monday night’s Watertown City Council meeting over a bullying prevention policy drawn up by Mayor Sarah Caron.

The policy would require city staff and volunteers who observe acts of bullying during any city-sponsored activity to take immediate, appropriate steps to intervene if they observe bullying.

Speaking in support of the policy was retired school counselor Julie Gonsor, whose comments focused primarily on bullying that gay and lesbian students have faced in Watertown.

But there was plenty of pushback on the policy, including from Councilman Don Roby.

Mayor Caron couldn’t understand the pushback against what she said was, “making a statement against bullying.”

Caron admitted she did not seek input from Watertown’s city attorney or human resources director in drafting the policy.

The policy was defeated on a 7-3 vote.