Flushing community experiences emotion school board meeting; Students, parents … – The Flint Journal
FLUSHING, Michigan — Within 30 minutes of announcing the death of Jarrod Nickell at Flushing High School, his parents received texts and messages that their son was being bullied at school.
Jarrod, 18, took his own life on Jan. 11 and his parents strongly believe bullying was one factor.
More than 50 people showed up at Tuesday’s meeting to share bullying stories, show support for the school district or just get educated on the situation.
Jarrod’s step-mother, Michele Nickell, stood before the board during public comment addressing her concerns on how the board was handling the situation, stating she knows her son was bullies and wants the district to recognize that.
“The letter that was sent out (Jan. 13) was the meanest, coldest letter I have ever read,” she said about the letter that stated the district didn’t believe bullying was an issue. “We wanted you to know that Flushing has a problem. … We’re not addressing it, we’re hiding it.”
Jarrod’s father, James Nickell, encouraged everyone to teach compassion to their children to try and prevent a situation like this from happening again.
He also encouraged the district to reach out to the parents, the to get feedback on what can be done.
“I ask that you look to see what we can do to help you,” James Nickell said. “I just want to know that at some point you reach out to us. It’s our community, too.”
Other stepped to share how they, or their children, have been bullied over the years.
Two high school students stepped up to show that they have seen improvements in bullying, fighting and punishment over the years at the high school, saying the administrators and staff have realy stepped up.
Olivia Dougherty, 17, said she has seen a drastic decrease in fights since she was a freshman.
“I would like to say thank you to the administration,” Dougherty said during public comment. “Yes, you can’t stop it all but I think (Principal Jason) Melynchek has been doing a great job to try and decrease the bullying.”
Kyle Emory, 17, said he can honestly consider Melynchek a friend and knows that he cares for all of the students.
“I don’t think that any staff member you couldn’t go to that would deny help,” Emory said.
Many board members addressed the audience and the Nickells Tuesday night choking back tears and pledging to improve communications with the students in the future.