Girl On Girl Bullying In The Elmira City School District, Part II – WETM
A Broadway Middle School student we spoke with says she is in 3 out of the 10 videos we found posted online.
“I got kicked in my head a couple times,” she said.
She says the fights break out from bullying that starts in school.
Fights her mother and several other parents say could be prevented if the school district were more proactive.
The faces of the parents are also being covered so their children can’t be identified.
“They don’t do anything. All they do is suspend them. I want her to stay in school.”
“I feel that if a child is being bullied, then that needs to be addressed right then and there and not wait until it gets to the fist throwing point.”
But Elmira City School District Superintendent Joe Hochreiter says bullying isn’t a problem in the district.
“I don’t think bullying is a problem. I think without the right communication, up to a teacher or school counselor or principal, it’s hard to keep our temperature, our thumb on how students are feeling and what their perceptions are. But it’s not a problem,” Hochreiter said.
Hochreiter says the district knows about the videos.
In fact, he says they’re often used as evidence in disciplinary cases.
But when we tried to show the superintendent the fighting videos we had found online, he told us he couldn’t watch them.
“You know, I’m not sure I can view this, because if this becomes submitted as evidence, I’ve got to be a third party,” Hochreiter said.
Hochreiter says he’s not allowed to view the video until it becomes a disciplinary matter.
After that, the district is free to take action.
“We document every single conversation we have with families, we document every single behavior around fighting or bullying that happens in schools,” Hochreiter said.
WETM-TV obtained school suspension numbers through March of the 2011-2012 school year.
So far, there have been more than 25-hundred suspensions.
Of that number, only 22 are the result of intimidation, harassment, and bullying.
Three suspensions were handed out because of assault with physical injury.
The top three reasons for suspension include: disorderly conduct, insubordination and skipping school.
But remember, these are only incidents that led to suspensions.
“We’re cognizant that despite our best efforts, 2 kids that want to go throws are going to go to throws, at a bus stop, at a park, at a movie theatre, at school,” Hochreiter said.
As far as the fights that happen off school property, like the one shown on video that happened nearly 2 blocks away from Ernie Davis Middle School; School officials say as long as they can prove the fight has a negative impact in the classroom, they can still take action.
But the schools need your help at home.
Here’s what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says you can do at home to keep your kids from becoming bullying victims.
-Keep the line of communication open.
-Educate your kids on what bullying is.
-Encourage them to get involved in school activities; this can boost their confidence.
But if you’re a parent who still thinks the schools need to take more action…
“In many cases they haven’t communicated any of their concerns to the building principal, that’s really where it has to start,” Hochreiter said.
Bullying has become such a problem for schools in New York that new legislation, passed in September 2010, will be enacted on July 1st 2012.
It’s called the “Dignity For All Students Act.”
It will require schools to report any incidents of bullying to the New York State Education Department.
For more information on how this act will help your child, visit http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/