NEW: Watertown City Council defeats bullying prevention policy  (Audio)
Photo courtesy KWAT's Mike Tanner

August 17, 2020
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.—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. If the staff member or volunteer believes their intervention has not resolved the matter, they would need to report it to their supervisor and document the incident in writing.”

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

Speaking in support of the policy was Councilwoman Beth Mantey. She called it, “a policy to do good”…..

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

Councilman Ried Holien…

Mayor Caron couldn’t understand all the opposition……

Caron did not seek input from Watertown’s city attorney or human resources director in drafting the policy, but says the opposition left her feeling, “flabbergasted.”

The policy was defeated on a 7-3 vote. Council members Roby, Holien, Bruce Buhler, Dan Albertsen, Jason Redemske, Adam Lalim and Glen Vilhauer voted no.

Council members Mantey, Michael Heuer and Josh Weyh voted yes.