Originally published Monday, March 12, 2018 at 06:00a.m.
Learning is the best thing anyone can do in life. For a child, it’s a daily task starting at the age of five. For this one child in particular, school was something she loved. She would get so upset when school breaks would come around, teachers would even send her home with homework packets. Until one day a bully broke her spirit to learn and caused her to have panic attacks every morning worrying about the bus ride to school.
School can be tough for children when they are being bullied by other students every day. Bullying is an ongoing problem with an ongoing solution.
Local parents have expressed their concerns about bullying and what the schools will do to better the policies they have in place now. Both Kingman Unified School District and Kingman Academy of Learning have a zero-tolerance for bullying.
A Kingman parent said her child was bullied in kindergarten through first grade on the bus while attending Cerbat Elementary.
“She had her hair pulled and head slammed against the window,” the Kingman parent said.
The parent was told by the Cerbat Elementary school principal if her daughter would defend herself she would be suspended.
“I finally had to switch her schools because nothing was being done,” they said.
The parent said after switching her daughter to Hualapai Elementary there was another bullying incident with her daughter.
“I immediately went to the vice principal and the child was suspended,” the Kingman parent said.
KAOL’s bullying definition states, bullying occurs when a student or a group of students engages in any form of behavior that includes such acts as intimidation and harassment. Bullying shall be defined as repeated use of physical, verbal, including written, or through internet, in a negative manner toward or in regard to another person, Roger Jacks, superintendent of KUSD, said.
KUSD and KAOL take different steps to handling reported bullying incidents. First and repeated offenses can lead to suspension or even expulsion and possibly a police referral at KAOL.
At KUSD the minimum action to be taken can be a conference and the maximum action can lead to a short-term suspension for first offenses. If repeated, then a parent will be involved and can lead to expulsion, according to the parent handbook.
“We have comprehensive policies in place, but we can always do a better job handling the complexities of bullying,” Jacks said.
According to the KAOL student handbook, there is a link for students and parents to use to report any bullying anonymously. The report asks for detailed description including if the student has any evidence such as social media post to be added to the report. Under each schools homepage, there is a link that leads to the report form.
Julie Johnson, an involved parent at Cerbat Elementary school said, her daughter was also a victim of bullying. The bullying started when she was in kindergarten by one of her neighbors. She got involved with this incident and the problem was taken care of to Johnson’s standards.
“The child in question was put in in-school suspension,” Johnson said. “And he was put in another class.”
Johnson spearheaded the Buddy Up program, where students in grades one through three can learn about respect. Johnson describes the program as a “friendship club” rather than an “anti-bullying club.”
“We need to build up leaders,” Johnson said. “And show that doing the right thing is cool.”
Cerbat also has a positive office referral program where the school awards students for good behavior. Students in grades 4th and 5th can participate in the Hero Up club which is an anti-bully club.
“You matter. If you are living and breathing, you matter,” Johnson said.