Unsafe Learning Environment

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons BlogBLOG POST #180: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific crime involving the repeated bullying of a 13-year-old student. (Helpful resources at the bottom)

The homepage of the school’s website states, “Provide a safe and secure learning environment where students are able to work towards reaching their maximum potential.”

School mission statements need to be an action plan, not a sales pitch.

Mean Girls

A note wadded into a ball was thrown at the teen—“bitch” had been written on the paper.  On the bathroom wall, someone had penned she and her sister were “ugly as f—”

She received threatening messages which her mother forwarded to the school principal.

The bullying escalated to the point the young girl was ‘jumped’ in her math class, with the teacher present—punched multiple times in the face, sat on, and choked. The teacher was unable to break it up.

To Report—Or Not To Report?

The school should have but didn’t report the assault to the police, in fact, the mother learned about it from her daughter. And then her mother called the police.

I’m petrified,” she told a police officer. “I don’t feel safe.”

Law enforcement charged the aggressor with assault and battery and strangulation. And the school suspended her for five days. The court ordered the bully to stay away from the 13-year-old.

Minimal Action

The state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was displeased with the school district for not reporting the assault to the police as would be in accordance with state law and the district’s bullying prevention policy. And the school district acknowledged noncompliance.

Per the DOE, the school district also failed to provide a safety plan for the bullied student.

Ineffective Action

Eventually, the principal provided a safety plan for the girl—a staff member would shadow her throughout the day. Additionally, she and her younger sister would be dismissed ten minutes earlier than the other students.

With no safe resolution in sight, the parents pulled their daughters from school.

The bullied girl’s therapist was quoted to say her patient was abused and often felt like her problems were her fault.

Worth mentioning: The school principal had been with the school district for 35-years. Starting out as a teacher, coach, and then an assistant principal. He’d been the principal for seven years. The superintendent didn’t renew the principal’s contract.

Here are some great resources for parents: StopBullying.gov and Bullying Guide from DrugRehab.com

What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

*This post was inspired by articles posted on Patch Media. They did an excellent job chronicling this young girl’s bullying experience.

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