The insurance provider for the Blue Springs School District paid $500,000 to settle claims filed by the parents of a 12-year-old boy who killed himself due to bullying.The father of a student who aidedMore >>
The insurance provider for the Blue Springs School District paid $500,000 to settle claims filed by the parents of a 12-year-old boy who killed himself because of bullying.More >>
BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) -
The mother of a 12-year-old girl said she is speaking out against the Blue Springs School District in hopes of forcing district officials to do more to stop bullying in schools.
District officials say they respond to all bullying allegations and take them seriously but Robin Jones thinks the district isn't doing enough.
Jones is just the latest parent to speak to KCTV5 about their concerns that the district is failing to address bullying in district classrooms.
The school district said their teachers and administrators take anti-bullying training before the year begins. Students kindergarten though eighth grade also participate in an anti-bullying rally every year.
These measures were enacted as part of a settlement with the parents of a boy who committed suicide after he was relentlessly bullied. The district's insurance provider paid $500,000.
The attorneys alleged that district officials and employees hid and destroyed evidence that documented the abuse. KCTV5 reached out to plaintiffs attorney Ken McClain, whose law firm negotiated the settlement to see if they are tracking the success of the efforts, but could not reach him.
"I'd like to see numbers to show if it's improving," Jones said.
District officials say they don't have a system in place to measure whether the anti-bullying programs are working, but say that doesn't mean they don't take allegations seriously.
"No one would want to have another child injured and if someone believes we do then they don't know the heart of an educator," said Cara Anger, spokeswoman for the Blue Springs School District.
Jones and Anger agree that the district allowed Jones' daughter to move to three different schools.
"We made a lot of accommodations for this family, worked with them not only did the principal get involved but the teachers, social workers, counselor and public safety," Anger said.
Jones said her daughter was a vibrant, happy grade schooler but that changed in fourth grade when she was tormented and teased by another student. Those issues then followed the girl to middle school.
The girl pleaded to go to a different school, Jones said.
"I just want to go to a place where people won't bother me or say bad things and hurt me," she recalled her daughter telling her. "I took her out of school for several days due to stomach aches and headaches. The bottom line is it was just stress."
But it grew much worse. Her daughter is now receiving therapy for intense emotional issues, and Jones fears her daughter will harm herself.
"That's my kid, my child," she said. "I'll do just about whatever it takes."
She said she believes the district is failing other children and it's time for parents to speak up.
"I'm sure others are hurt too," she said.
Anger said the district is offering an anonymous hotline to report incidents of bullying as part of a pilot program.
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