(West Plains) – One of the hot topics across the country in recent months is the subject of bullying, and how to stop it. One family in West Plains says they’re tired of the bullying their kids are receiving, and what they call inaction by the school district.
Inam Saba, an Israeli-American who has lived in the United States for over 25 years and currently lives in West Plains, says that her children have been bullied for many years because of their ethnic background, being called racist and derogatory names. She says that everything came to a head Tuesday night, and she decided to do something about it:
Inam says that her oldest son Nick was constantly badgered while in high school, and that he eventually dropped out because of it:
She also cited an incident that happened to her son:
Saba says that a recent incident that happened with her oldest daughter was when one of her classmates “tagged” her name to a political cartoon of a beheaded Osama Bin Laden on Facebook.
Inam says that the same racially-fueled name-calling is happening again with their 11-year-old daughter, who just recently entered middle school.
She says that, although the children are hurt by the words, they are reluctant to name the children who are bullying them, because they don’t want to lose friends for fear of being labeled a “snitch”, or a tattle-tale.
Saba says that she will be outside the middle school each morning until “something is done”, and she urges any students that have been bullied, or parents who think their kids have been bullied, to come forward and seek help.
THE SCHOOL RESPONDS
In an official statement, representatives with the West Plains R-7 School District told Ozark Radio News that “While we cannot disclose information regarding our students, their well-being in all areas from health, to food, to safety are always a top priority. We want to make sure our students are ready to learn when they enter the classroom”.
School representatives also told Ozark Radio News that, before the demonstration outside of the school, the Sabas have not officially brought any issues to the district superintendent or the school board.
The district said that when it comes to bullying in general, their policy in dealing with an incident is that a student is to refer to the counselor to discuss the incident. The counselor will get involved parties together to discuss the issue and try to resolve the problem. The incident is then documented and if a second issue occurs, the principals become involved. A third incident is then handled as a discipline issue, with one to three days of in school suspension or out of school suspension as punishment.
The district also sent Ozark Radio News information on the district’s anti-bullying campaign they teach to students, which includes a “School wide commitment to create a caring community including administration, teachers, staff, parents and students”. The middle school also teaches the students various ways to diffuse bullying, which includes using humor to de-escelate a situation, walking away from the situation, and telling authority figures about bullying.