A recent incident at David E. Norman Elementary has two parents of an elementary student very concerned for their child’s safety. They feel one of their children are being bullied at the school and the school staff are not taking the issue seriously.
The parents names and child involved will remain anonymous because they feel like retaliation could take place if their names were listed.
The parents said their child has been dealing with bully type incidents since April, when the first incident occurred. The most recent incident was on Oct. 10 that became more physical. The report the parents presented to The Ely Times from Principal Cammie Briggs explains that three boys were accused of pushing the unnamed child to the ground, one then tackles him and proceeds to “hump him.”
The report explained that a group of nine-plus students were playing a game in which many students were tackled and in which the unnamed child tackled at least one student.
Of the three boys accused, one did tackle the unnamed child and pushed his face into the dirt. The report also indicates that the humping was not confirmed.
The report also indicated that the father of the unnamed child was concerned for sexual assault, harassment, physical assault and bullying from these three boys continually to his child, which had been reported in previous incidents.
The report does note the three boys were not found to be picking on the child, both games got rough, 11 students were interviewed, three staff were interviewed and a review of the camera on the playground was conducted, and the final conclusion of the report was determinted unsubstantiated.
It was also noted in the report that while tackling is an inappropriate behavior and consequences have been taken, it was not considered bullyng per S.B. 504.
The report goes on to explain a plan of what they would do to help in the future that included the unnamed child debriefing the day with Briggs or another faculty member. All students in that particular grade would receive counseling lessons on appropriate playground behaviors and appropriate games.
The grass playground area will be marked for NO PLAY in any “out of camera areas” with pylons, paint or fencing for student safety.
An incident almost one week prior to the Oct. 10 incident where a game was being played on the playground where one student took it too seriously, according to Briggs report to the parents of the unnamed child, explains that unnamed child was thrown to the ground. The report also says a fight entailed between several other students.
Prior to this, there were five incidents reported that ranged from the child being told by other kids to watch his back, to the child witnessing inappropriate behaviors on the playground that included girls doing pole dances and boys paying money to see girl’s privates. The report noted the allocations were not correct, but inappropriate behaviors were identified. Students were counseled to utilize proper behaviors. This incident involved 13 students.
Although the report of findings on Oct. 10 came back as unsubstantiated, the parents and child report a different story.
The father of the unnamed child said, “Education is not fun anymore when a child feels threatened.”
The unnamed child was asked what happened last week? “It was Wednesday, we were playing a game, at lunch recess, we were playing a game, I was a dinosaur, chasing some girls, and three boys came up, one boy pushed me down, I tried to get up but the one boy hit my hand.
“I fell down, another one came around behind me, and pretended to have sex with me, one of the kids was holding my face, and one was holding my head, and one was humping me. One of the girls took me to the principals’ office to try to protect me.”
The unnamed child asked the principal to call his parents. The child was taken to the emergency room because the child’s hand was swollen and red.
The mother of unnamed child expressed her frustration and concern with the school. The mother said, “I was told by Briggs this was going to go in as a bully report. All the other incidents we were told it’s going to be handled, and nothing was done.”
The unnamed child said, “I survive the day… When I go to school everyday, after I step on that bus, I’m thinking what comes next after fighting and humping. I hate recess, it’s like you’re not even safe inside the class.
“You go outside for your first recess, someone walks up to you and says watch your back, and a lot of people say watch your back, you go to lunch, why are they telling me watch your back, and they say because someone wants to fight you or kill you.”
White Pine School District Superintendent Adam Young was reached for information regarding what the school is doing for bully awareness prevention month since October is the month for awareness on this topic.
Young indicated that the focus at the schools has been teaching students and staff about the SafeVoice platform, which was rolled out in the district in August.
“The platform was designed to provide an outlet for families to report a concern that they have so it can be investigated at the appropriate level,” Young said.
The Nevada Department of Education has procuded a flyer provide an outline on “What is bullying?” It states bullying can be communicated verbally, electronically or in writing,or any combinatino of those. A single severe and willful act, a criminal act in some instances, as well as repeated or pervasive taunting, name-calling, belittleing, mocking or use of put-downs or demeaning humor. Behavior that is intended to harm another person by damaging or manipulating his or her relationships with others or threats to harm a person.
The question is, are are any of these programs, or policies effective?
The mother said, “This is going on inside to where it’s an infectious cancer that nobody wants to deal with and nobody wants to say anything about. It shouldn’t come down to my kids having to be in therapy to figure out how to make a day in school.”
Young explains that through the years, the school district has attempted to integrate positive social interactions and life skills into everyday instruction and interactions, believing that respectful interactions are important enough to emphasize every single day. A Norman Elementary program called the Leader in Me is designed to teach students such skills as “look for win-win” and other keys to respectful behavior.
The unnamed child said, “ If I go to school one more time, what’s gonna happen next? Why do I always have a target on my back? I start thinking there must be something wrong with me, and you don’t talk to anybody, but nothing changes.”