Parents express concerns of ongoing bullying at Lafayette Sunnyside Intermediate; administrators respond

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Mother and father declare that issues of bullying at Lafayette Sunnyside Intermediate College are out of hand. On Information 18, we’re supplying you with an in-depth take a look at these claims and the way the varsity is responding in a three-part collection. A set off warning for readers, matters of suicide are talked about on this story.

“There’s an issue, and I believe that the constant piece of this downside is Sunnyside,” mentioned Melissa Lynch, mom of Anna Lynch who claims she’s been a sufferer of bullying at Lafayette Sunnyside.


Mother and father have turned to protesting in hopes of bringing change. On Tuesday, Jun. 2, a number of dad and mom and their youngsters gathered exterior the varsity for a peaceable demonstration holding anti-bullying posters, hoping to deliver consciousness to the problems. A number of of these dad and mom say they’ve all been by the identical cycle of their youngster being bullied, speaking to directors in regards to the points, both not listening to something from directors or directors telling them it is dealt with, after which the bullying continues. However it’s essential we first take a look at what the varsity defines as bullying.

Based on the Indiana College Security Code, bullying is outlined as overt and undesirable repeated acts or gestures. That is together with verbal or written communications transmitted, bodily acts dedicated or another behaviors dedicated.

“Due to my weight, I’ve been bullied. Folks have wished demise on me and referred to as me some not-so-nice names.”

That is the opening assertion from a letter written by Sunnyside fifth grade pupil Anna Lynch. She mentioned her expertise falls proper in keeping with the varsity security code definition of bullying. She claims she skilled every part from verbal, to cyber to even bodily bullying. She wrote the letter to assist categorical her emotions and address what she’s been by.

“Anna would come residence and say, I had a nasty day — there are some youngsters that weren’t good to me,” mentioned her mom Melissa.

Melissa mentioned these conversations began turning into constant, and it was all the time the identical few college students inflicting her hurt.

“I might simply say, properly did you inform the trainer and he or she would say, ‘yeah, I did inform the trainer,’ after which I anticipated since I wasn’t contacted that it was being taken care of nevertheless it simply stored going,” mentioned Melissa.

She mentioned she and her husband went to the varsity a number of instances to speak with directors however the bullying continued.

“You recognize, you lastly understand that nothing is being carried out however , after we began going to the workplace, they weren’t going to assist us in any respect,” mentioned Melissa.

Sunnyside pupil Aiden Zeck mentioned he additionally met a lifeless finish with directors when it got here to seeing a decision to the incident he endured.

“I used to be going over to the sink to do one thing, I believe or I used to be going over to assist somebody and he simply came to visit in my ear and mentioned “die.” I used to be like, ‘what? Why,’” mentioned Aiden.

This occurred to him in fifth grade. Now ending his Sixth-grade 12 months, his mom Tina mentioned that remark within the classroom prompted a ripple of detrimental results on his psychological well being.

“He had talked about that he was going to kill himself a few instances and that is when he advised us about this different pupil telling him that,” mentioned Aiden’s mom Tina Zeck. “It broke my coronary heart as a result of, I imply, you by no means need to hear that out of your youngster.”

Tina mentioned after informing the lecturers, they did work to separate Aiden and the opposite pupil, however she mentioned no additional act of bullying prevention was put in place. And seeing that that is the way it’s ended for a number of college students who’ve reported being bullied, she in addition to all the opposite dad and mom are attempting to determine what it’s about Sunnyside that circumstances of bullying appear so prevalent.

“Sunnyside, they threw all of the elementary colleges into one constructing in order that, I believe, might have been a difficulty,” mentioned Tina. “I assume simply form of throwing all people in there you do not actually know what to anticipate.”

Inhabitants plus age might be the basis of the issue these dad and mom and youngsters are dealing with. Based on Dr. Alicia Clevenger, the varsity’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, the varsity is housing almost 1,200 college students per 12 months.

“It is a delicate age I believe and so at Sunnyside, you’re all of the sudden bringing each fifth-grader and each sixth-grader in our district into one constructing,” mentioned Clevenger.

She mentioned dad and mom expressing issues about bullying is not new to highschool directors.

“I believe there’s all the time been a difficulty,” mentioned Clevenger. “I believe it’s possibly come to mild extra in the previous couple of years or the final couple of years with the elevated use of social media.”

Whereas she acknowledges that there are college students who’ve skilled bullying at Sunnyside, she mentioned a few of these pissed off dad and mom might be misunderstanding the distinction between a toddler being bullied versus two kids having a battle.

“I can not say that bullying is prevalent, there are misbehaviors which are prevalent,” mentioned Clevenger. “It is a few leverage of energy and it isn’t — when it is an equal participation like a struggle the place they’re each throwing punches or name-calling, there is no leverage of energy there in order that’s not bullying.”

She mentioned the varsity has handled a number of claims of bullying that, after investigation, had been decided as a battle. However for the circumstances which are certainly bullying, she mentioned the varsity follows state protocol.

“It is taken very critically and so now we have an anti-bullying plan that the district follows and plenty of instances its penalties nevertheless it additionally needs to be along with training and counseling companies and issues of that nature,” mentioned Clevenger.

She believes these dad and mom might be pissed off for not being knowledgeable on precisely how the varsity is dealing with the bully.

“The explanation why we can not share that info with dad and mom is because of federal legislation, and we confer with it as FERPA,” mentioned Clevenger.

FERPA is an acronym that stands for Household Instructional Rights and Privateness Act. It really works to guard a toddler’s instructional file. As soon as the varsity does self-discipline a bully for his or her actions, that file is then protected by this Act and can’t be disclosed to another individual.

However Anna’s mom Melissa mentioned her frustration doesn’t lie in not being knowledgeable on how the bully was punished. She, like different dad and mom, mentioned the anti-bullying plan isn’t working.

“I by no means anticipated to be contacted and to be advised so and so was suspended from college or had a detention or something like that however I did count on for modifications to be made,” mentioned Melissa. “I anticipated for my daughter to not come residence from college saying the identical names and saying the identical kinds of behaviors are occurring.”

“I really feel like the varsity’s not doing sufficient to guard the children which are being bullied,” mentioned Tina.

Our subsequent particular report this month shall be taking an in-depth take a look at the varsity’s anti-bullying plan and a brand new program they’ve applied. We’ll discover out if dad and mom assume it is sufficient to maintain their youngsters secure. The story will air on Wednesday, Jun. 16.

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