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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CCS working to stop bullying

Friday, February 24, 2012

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Northview High School Principal Lynn Romas meets with approximately 15 students from each class level (9-12) once a month during Principal's Advisory Board meetings to discuss various issues students experience. Topics of discussion range from water fountains and faucets to scheduling problems, passing periods, school rule modification to bullying. [Order this photo]
A 17-year-old Brazil resident says he's afraid to go to school or walk around the community after approximately four years of repeated bullying, and school officials say bullying is a universal problem they are working to address.

According to his mother, the young man attended Northview High School the first nine-weeks of the 2011-12 school year.

"I pulled him out of school after several incidents," the mother said. "The only thing the school did to try to keep (him) safe was to have him wait until the bell rang after passing period for him to be in the halls, but he still met other boys in the hallway trying to hurt and bully him. So, we are doing homebound studies now."

Since the alleged bullies can no longer meet the young man at school, they've brought their personal "wars" to local neighborhoods and streets.

"It's gotten so he's afraid to walk to the gas station or go to the grocery store," the mother said. "He didn't go to the Stargazer's Ball because they were waiting for him and told him if he came they would jump him."

Bad turned to worse recently when the boy was attacked in the home of a peer, he'd assumed was a friend.

"They hit me over the head with a ball bat several times, made me drink vodka and stole my phone and shoes," the young man told The Brazil Times. "They gave me the phone back, but the SIM card is missing, and they said if I want my shoes back, I've got to fight them."

After the incident, the mother got the police involved, and according to law enforcement officials, an investigation was conducted.

However, according to police reports there was not enough evidence to create a solid case against the alleged juveniles.

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Clay Community Schools Superintendent Kimberly Tucker and Northview High School (NHS) Principal Lynn Romas both say the corporation is working to solve bullying conflicts.

Tucker told The Brazil Times that last year alone NHS reported 54 incidents of what was considered by school faculty and staff to be bullying.

"Normally, higher numbers of these incidents are reported by middle schools, but we only saw six reports of bullying at North Clay (Middle School) and 34 incidents of verbal and/or physical misconduct, which could be considered bullying," Tucker explained. "We are working to revise discipline codes, and we are in the process of implementing a program called Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS)."

Tucker added, "We have a team of administrators practicing this right now, and Bonnie Ave has been training (school professionals about PBIS) since June of 2011. We need to have more intentional codes for reporting bullying incidents."

Tucker also told The Brazil Times there is only so much the school can do, and that parents have to help too.

"If two students get into a fight during the weekend and bring it into the school, we have no clue what went on because we weren't there," Tucker said. "The schools codes aren't the only thing that need to be fixed. Society is going to have to be fixed too ... We can't seem to contain things like cyber bullying and social media."

She also indicated students who conduct themselves inappropriately will receive punishment depending on the severity of the incident including in-school and out-of-school suspensions, as well as Friday schools or even expulsion.

Tucker said both parties involved in a bullying incident should receive education and counseling.

"The kids should be able to work through their issues and learn about respectful and responsible behavior and tolerance," Tucker said. "We can give more info to students and parents to protect themselves and their children. Having an adult presence is the greatest single deterrent."

Romas said he approaches bullying with caution when an incident is reported.

"No student should come to school and face harassment from anyone, period. Bullying is a hot ticket item for me because of its cruel and senseless nature," Romas said. "It is not difficult to detect bullying in the school setting. Bullying possesses a consistency of behavior and method from normal daily interactions with peers. It is usually one person instigating ways of tormenting someone who appears different or vulnerable."

Romas added bullying behaviors range from verbal heckling to physical harm such as shoving or tripping someone.

"In my experience, the victim usually has experienced more than one episode before making a report. Often when a victim is sited by a teacher or administrator, he or she will deny the episode for fear of further bullying," Romas told The Brazil Times.

He also said there is no standard form or rule to deal with bullying in general, and that it is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

"If a student reports he or she is being bullied at Northview, a follow-up investigation takes place," Romas said. "I have learned to be careful in my determined approach with bullies, so I do not bring down greater harm to the victim. For instance, it would obviously be stupid to give the bully details of the person with complaints against him/her. We research the problem by finding witnesses and calling parents."

In addition to revising disciplinary codes and implementing corporation-wide behavior modification programs, Romas also meets with a group of approximately 60 students, 15 from each grade respectively, once a month to discuss student issues, including bullying.

The group is called the Principal's Advisory Board.

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"We conducted a survey with this group about bullying, but they said it wasn't really something they've experienced or really worry about," Romas said. "Although, this group of students may be too selective of a group to get genuine results from."

Romas said bullying is not an easy conflict to tackle or understand.

"It is easy to point fingers and say one person or institution is not doing its job because 'bullying' exists," Romas said. "The truth is much more compelling and misunderstood. It is impossible to turn a blind eye to the problem and yet, even with well established guidelines and practices, it can still happen. If I had my wish, I would want every student to treat others as he or she would like to be treated. However, that dream is obviously unrealistic because all children are raised individually with a multitude of varying values."

For more information on strategies to recognize and prevent bullying visit www.empoweringparents.com or contact the CCS office at 443-4461 or the local school for help.


Comments
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The fundamental problem with bullying is that the schools punish the victim if the victim attempts to defend himself. The bullies don't care but the victims do and they don't want to be in trouble. Essentially, the schools provide aid and comfort to the bullies.

One of my kids have had this problem. When self defense was executed, the schools got upset. The problem had existed for at least 3 years. I told my child that the rules must be followed and to let the school handle it.

Well, THE SCHOOL NEVER HANDLED IT. Finally, I gave my permission, "Take care of it. Just don't break any bones." Thank goodness the martial arts training also taught restraint. One good kick and its now all over. Sure, my child had to spend the day in detention but after three years of bullying it was a small price to pay. Bullies don't like to have to really fight.

I recommend this: support your kid. Give them confidence. Tell them to never throw the first punch. Even if they come home with a black eye or a bloody nose from a scuffle, let them know that self defense is never wrong.

School is akin to a prison environment. The school officials twist kids words and actions to fit their social and political agendas. And then, for those students that defend themselves, they punish them. What a way to induce bullying. The bully gets to see their victim further bullied by the establishment. I'm done telling my kid to follow those rules. There are other rules that are more important. Kindness, self respect and self defense. The schools try to teach them but they fail, miserably and, effectively, teach the opposite.

Is it any wonder we have a bullying problem?

-- Posted by ClayPrepper on Fri, Feb 24, 2012, at 8:59 PM

You have to be kidding me. I asked them to do this story to make people aware of my nephew being bullied and they turned it into it's not the school's fault?! Really?! And the police don't have enough EVIDENCE?? What a joke! I'm ashamed that I am raising my kids in this town!

-- Posted by SKCC on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 11:32 AM

I think its messed up that a MINOR consumed alcohol in someones house ( contributing to a MINOR ), he was ASAULTED by 4 people ( ASAULT ), and had his stuff stolen ( THEFT ), and they also dont mention that the police officer never even went to the house to investigate the first call that Im assuming a neibor called in! What an OUTSTANDING reason for us to all have FAITH in our LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT and PROSECUTOR!! WAY TO GO BPD for once again FAILING your local youth!!!!

-- Posted by DISCUSTED! on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 12:22 PM

I moved back to Brazil a couple of years ago and two of my kids have endured bullying since day one. I try to teach them to have thick skin and be the better person, but when you have kids spitting in their lunch and throwing things at you let alone the verbal abuse - I think you have to draw the line. The response I got when it was middle school was they handled the situation. I think thats just sugar coating the issue. As for the high school - well when you have coaches who dont take it serious or administration and athletic directors who dont even respond to simple emails, NOTHING is going to get done. Its been bad enough that my kids havent been made to feel welcome here. But then you add on the bullying - sometimes i wonder why I moved back.

-- Posted by justsayin63 on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 4:38 PM

I am saddened of these kids stories and that the school and prosecutor is doing nothing to the bullies. They haven't for a long time. This prosecutor has failed so many kids in so many ways. Please remember this at election time.

-- Posted by myownlittleworld1 on Sun, Feb 26, 2012, at 8:47 AM

Ironically I find this story just after seeing my daughter off on a week get away. A week get away from the constant name calling, picking, threatening, humiliating, and teasing she has endured all year at North Clay! The first incident started on her over crowded bus. A 17 year old high school student refused her a place to sit when the bus was already 3 to a seat. She told my daughter she would "punch her in her F-ing face if she sat there. With no place else my daughter (7th grader) sat down. This high school girl proceeded to push her, taunt her, call her names, and spit at her for 3 weeks! My daughter went to the bus driver and received no help. The bus driver didn't even report it. I went to the school and spoke with Mr. Kikta. Mr. Kikta was able to tell me this girls name before I even knew it! This girl was a known bully! That situation was handled. However, to no surprise the same girl was just in a fight on that same bus last week causing injury to the bus driver and stood in front of the bus and cursed Dr. Allen and threatened him. Yet, this same school is professing to take a stand against such behavior, is the same school that will allow this kid back on the BUS!!!!

I agree with Clay Prepper, the victim is the one separated and treated as if they are wrong. The next several incidents my daughter faced, the school counselor actually proposed that my daughter be able to work ALONE in the ISS room!!!! Why would my daughter be the one removed from class? Yes, this was all happening in class in front of the teacher. The teacher saw my daughter upset and crying after hearing the things being said and the only assistance was to send her to solitude?

The comment about calling the parents.....HA! You really think the parents of a child behaving in such a manner care? Why is it when my daughter has seen the guidance counselor 4 times in one week, yet I as her parent didn't get a call? Why when another high school student engaged in threatening her alongside a fellow 7th grader and the school guidance counselor already knew of the situation, did I NOT GET A CALL?

I have to ask Clay Community Schools this question, if you have a ZERO TOLLERANCE policy on this behavior, BULLYING, then where are the consequences? The problem grows because the school corporation fails to hold these kids accountable. The school posts the word respect all over the wall but fails to enforce it. Come on Clay County Schools, stop hiding and protect the students that are there for an education!!!

-- Posted by citizen 99020 on Sun, Feb 26, 2012, at 9:45 AM

Mr. Romas how about meeting with the kids who come in asking for your help? They maybe the ones with the insight on the "problem."

-- Posted by citizen 99020 on Sun, Feb 26, 2012, at 9:48 AM

After reading this article my heart is saddened and my soul is enraged. We as parents need to stand together and put a stop to the bullying that is a constant problem within this community. As it has been made clear the school officials and BPD are not taking this issue seriously.

They preach Zero Tolerance and yet their follow through is lacking. The student/victim being subjected to the bullying is not being taken seriously or is being isolated from the rest of their class, and the staff/school officials say this is for the safety of the student/victim.

This approach has the direct opposite affect for the student/victim meaning that it further empowers the bully/bullies to continue the mental, verbal and physical abuse. The bullies see this as a win for their cause and they wont stop until the victim is pulled out of school.

They face no repercussions or consequences for their actions. They the bullies continue to go to school, hang out with their friends and continue to throw their education away in most cases. While the one being isolated/punished for standing up and saying enough is enough misses out on school dances and other such school functions for fear of being cornered and abused.

Only just yesterday there was a shooting at a High School in Chardon, Ohio. The student wielding the gun had been a victim of bullying and after the school did nothing to intervene and prevent the bullying the Student feeling there was no other option brought a hand gun to school with the sole purpose of ending the bullying and his torment on his own. The student (age 17) went to the school cafeteria and shot five students, two of the students have died and three are still being treated for their wounds in a Cleveland hospital.

Now before you say that I am siding with the shooter I am most certainly NOT. I am however wondering why did it have to go that far? Where was the Staff, Parents or even other Students to say ENOUGH. Why did this young man at age 17 feel that this was his only way to make it stop and gain back some control of his life. I fear that if these bullying incidents aren't handled with more force and less turning of the proverbial blind eye we will see a similar incident within our own school community.

I have preached to both of my children to stand up for them selves and what they believe in even if it is not the popular thing to do. I have also taught my children that if they see a fellow student who is being bullied to stand up for that student and to show that it will not be tolerated and that it just isn't cool to be a bully. Instead of turning a blind eye and doing noting at all.

We as parents need to STAND UP and Say ENOUGH! We as Tax Payers and parents need to show the school corp. that we mean business. That with out our support no levy's would pass and there would be no parents to help with other school type functions (i.e PTO, band, sports or dances).

We send our children to school to learn in a SAFE environment Free from bullies so that they may one day become productive adults and contribute to the communities in which we live. We need to teach our children to Stand up for themselves and unite together against these bullies in the hopes that we can prevent a tragic event much like the one that has happened at Chardon High School.

-- Posted by shawnette27 on Tue, Feb 28, 2012, at 3:27 PM


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