Archive for Thursday, September 1, 2005

Bullying is back at BHS again

September 1, 2005

For the second time in a matter of a week, a bullying incident at Baldwin High School has resulted in a police investigation. And, it occurred to the same 15-year-old sophomore.

Baldwin City Police Chief Mike McKenna said the incident was first reported to the School Resource Officer, an employee of the police department who works at the schools, on Friday at 1 p.m. Later that day, the boy and his parents -- who had made an impassioned plea the week before to parents throughout the district to help try and stop the incidences -- came to the police station.

"The 15-year-old victim of recent batteries was at school Friday and a 16-year-old youth grabbed him by the hair on his head and repeatedly rubbed his face in the 16-year-old's crouch," said McKenna. "The 16-year-old then took the 15-year-old's hand and placed it on the butt of a high school girl.

"So, we are preparing the case to be sent to the District Attorney for action in Juvenile Court," he said. "It's the third report of bullying to the same individual at the school in the last year."

Supt. James White jumped into action last week after the first incident to contact an expert on bullying to come to Baldwin for sessions with students, parents, staff and interested patrons. That has been set for Oct. 12 and 13.

But, efforts have been stepped up since Friday's latest incident to try and get the unruly behavior under control.

"Our administration is working with all the kids involved and parents to get it stopped," said White. "We'd like to get it stopped completely, but you know and I know that won't happen.

"We need to be ready to take action and be prepared to take it when it occurs," he said.

McKenna said the police department is working in conjunction with the district on the problem, as well.

"Yes, we're working hand-in-hand with the school district to control this," he said. "It is not uncommon for victims of this crime to be rebullied."

White said the details of the bullying expert's session in October are still being worked out.

"We have his scheduled Oct. 12 for an evening meeting for parents and patrons at 7 p.m. and students and staff on Oct. 13," he said.

McKenna said that both the victim and suspect in the latest bullying incident have been interviewed and progress is being made.

"He (the victim) and his parents were down here Friday afternoon," said McKenna. "It's sad to see that. He got a hold of the officer (SRO) at 1 p.m. Friday and told him about it. The parents came down here later that afternoon.

"One of the parents of the accused boy brought him down Tuesday afternoon and they are cooperating with the investigation," he said.

District officials have become increasingly concerned with the bullying problem after a recent court decision where a Tonganoxie youth was awarded a $250,000 judgment against the school district there. He had been bullied for years, quit school as a result of it and then sued the district because of its lack of action to put an end to the bullying.

An ongoing discussion on the issue can be found on the Signal's Web site at www.baldwincity.com in the SpeakOut! section of the site.

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