This post is a follow-up of my July 23, 2006 post Don’t Bully My Child. Casey County High School in Kentucky is being sued because administrators and teachers failed to take the appropriate action to protect five students on school grounds from bullies. In my previous post, I stated that parents should meet with school officials, and ensure that their child is safe while they’re on school property. Here’s a story of the parents and students taking the appropriate action and receiving nothing in return.
Rachel Weddle has a bald spot from when a bully pulled her hair and punched her in the face at school. Bethany Buis received letters with death threats and eventually transferred schools. Lacy Griffith skipped her high school graduation fearing harassment. Charissa Gosser was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, which involves feelings of depression or anxiety. Nikki Rayborn spent most of her time at school trying to avoid bullies. These are the five students that are suing for unspecified damages.
The suit states that school administrators told the girls and their parents on several occasions that nothing could be done by the school to stop bullying. One student was told to “ride it out.” The vice principal told one student that she needed to “toughen up. ” The lawsuit also stated that a teacher witnessed a physically aggressive act against one of the girls, and responded, “Whew, she’s mad at you.” One student stated that the vice principal told her that she “got more trouble than most girls” because she was pretty. ”
How can students get an education when they spend the day avoiding bullies, defending themselves, or reporting the harassment and hearing administrators tell them that they can’t protect them? I believe that it’s unfair for a child to miss their high school graduation, one of the most important and memorable days of their life, because they’re afraid of being bullied. I also believe that it is unfair for a student who is being harassed to have to transfer to another high school to avoid the harassment. Why not transfer the bully? I find it hard to believe that school administrators haven’t received training to handle school bullies. Personally, I won’t spend a lot of time, energy, or money on school bullies. Call the parents into the school, turn the problem children over to the parents, and remove them from the system until they learn self-respect, self-control, self-esteem, and learn to respect their school and fellow students. I believe the problem starts at home, and that’s where it needs to be worked on and corrected.
Did these school administrators fail these students and parents? If school administrators don’t know how to handle bullying, they can use State Senate Bill 1621 co-written by 15 year old Caitlyn Nolan in Tenneesee as an example. Nolan was bullied in middle school for years by the same person. She said she lived in constant fear. Administrators say Nolan was a prime target because she was an overachiever, president of the school council and an honor student. I thought these were traits that all parents and administators wanted to see in students, but bullies despise these type of students. Caitlyn said, “When she was pushed face first into her locker, she decided to take action.” She lobbied for guidance on how to deal with bullies in her school district. Her bill goes into effect just in time for the new school year. Caitlyn hopes the bill “shines a light on the problem that students are facing.” Congratulations Caitlyn for stepping up and taking action!