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Kristin Wentz-Krumwiede, left, Nicki Kehr, center, and Heather Cook listen as a parent gives testimony to Bismarck School Board members on Oct. 9 relating to bullying in the city's public schools. All three individually addressed the board regarding their sons and daughters being either bullied or harassed while attending school.

Tom Stromme, Tribune

In response to public outcry over district policies on bullying and harassment, the Bismarck School Board has agreed to create a task force that will review these policies and identify areas of improvement.

School Board President Karl Lembke proposed the board direct district administration to establish the task force during a board meeting Thursday night. The group will be composed of parents, administrators, teachers and board members.

"There is probably more prevention that we could do," Lembke said.

The board's response comes two weeks after Bismarck parents and residents attended a school board meeting in support of local mom Kristin Wentz-Krumwiede, whose 13-year-old daughter has been harassed by another student at Simle Middle School. Parents and residents also shared their own stories of their children, family members and students being the victims of bullying at schools and on social media.

Other board members on Thursday agreed with the creation of a task force. Board Member Jon Lee said the current bullying policy "is well-written, but obviously everything can be improved upon."

Board Member Rick Geloff also said he would like the district to consider more education on bullying prevention.

"We, as a school district, need to make a conscious effort to educate to make sure that we empower, and I think a task force is right in doing that, but maybe we also have to consider education on the subject," Geloff said.

Bismarck Public School Superintendent Tamara Uselman said she will bring more information on the task force to the board's next meeting on Nov. 13.

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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