MOUNT KISCO, N.Y-- Bullying at summer camp can happen just as easily as bullying at school; to the bullies and the bullied, it is only a change of venue: from school desks and hallways to soccer fields and picnic tables.
Camp Iroquois, the full-day camp run by the Village Recreation Department at Leonard Park for kids in kindergarten through sixth-grade, has a comprehensive policy to address the issue of bullying.
"We have a behavior policy that all campers and parents sign before camp starts," said Camp Iroquois Director Alison Eckhart, who is also the village’s recreation supervisor.
The two-page Camp Iroquois Behavior Policy Agreement has all the rules of camp and states that there is a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying, fighting, or any other violent action, as well as hateful speech or language.
"We've had a couple little cases that we've dealt with immediately and taken care of," she said. Each time this has happened, she said, the situation has involved one child trying to gather together a group of children to turn against others.
The Camp Iroquois agreement also delineates the repercussions for each subsequent incident of bad behavior; this includes all offenses, not just bullying. If there is a fifth offense, the camper will be permanently removed from the program without a refund.
Eckhart said she has been researching local school districts’ approaches to the state-mandated bullying policy going into effect at the start of the next school year.
“I want to be consistent with what they do and carry it into the summer,” she said.