Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2012

School district admits reports of bullying not addressed quickly

By Rupert Howell

Bullying incidences caused parents of two Batesville Middle School students to seek assurance from South Panola School trustees that something would be done before the upcoming school year.

One parent told trustees of reporting a February incident to the teacher but when another incident later occurred, there was no record of the first. A third incident resulted in-school expulsions for those doing the bullying but came toward the end of the school year.

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The father of one student said he felt he had let his son down by going through the chain of command with little or no results until the end of the school year.

Trustees and administrators were all sympathetic toward the parents with several making suggestions that the teacher and principals meet with them and/or their children at the beginning of the coming school year to assure they would be there to protect them.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer also noted while all instances should be taken seriously, the subject can get complicated when in some cases there’s a fine line between what some people see as bullying, others may see as “boys being boys.”

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jeremiah Burkes would later reveal that the district’s policy concerning bullying was adequate, but had not been followed properly and told trustees after the meeting that the personnel involved had been dealt with administratively.