Investigator Exclusive: Cracking down on classroom bullies

10:24 AM, Nov 19, 2010   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Schools must report incidents of bullying, along with other infractions, to the Ohio Department of Education. The Investigator Tom Meyer examined state data that was compiled from reports submitted from school districts in eight counties in Northeast Ohio.

In the area of harassment and intimidation, records show Euclid City Schools disciplined 890 students in the past three school years.

It's not as many as Cleveland public schools, with 3,412 cases, but Euclid has the highest rate of discipline.

"I think we're very aggressive about making sure our kids are safe at school," Superintendent Joffrey Jones said.

Channel 3 News also looked at a category of discipline the state calls "unwelcome sexual conduct."

Sondra Miller, of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, explained that "there are many forms of bullying that are also labelled sexual harassment and sexual harassment is also a form of bullying."

Parma City Schools reported 158 cases of unwelcome sexual conduct to the state. While that's the most cases, Maple Heights schools had the highest rate of discipline, with 60 incidents.

"We only had one offense at the high school, and the majority of our incidents happen with students 8 years and younger and it ranges, at the one end, from inappropriate touching, to making jokes and inappropriate comments," Superintendent Charlie Keenan explained.

School safety expert Ken Trump believes most administrtators are doing a good job of cracking down on bullies, but admits "there are cases where school administrators under report and are non-responsive and dismiss the situations."

Monica Nichols says Durling Middle School in Lorain did nothing to stop five school bullies from harassing her daugther, Teresa, an 8th grade student at the school.

Both say Teresa was called offensive names and said students would grab her books, throw them down the hallway, then kick her when she tried to pick them up.

The bullying became so bad that Teresa left school and is trying to enroll in a new one.

"My daughter, an A student, is sitting at home and the bullies are not being punished at all and they were able to continue to go to school," her mother said.

Teresa says she's tried to kill herself twice and had to seek counseling.

"I made a list of what I'd miss and who would miss me, if I died," Teresa told The Investigator.

Principal Jerome Davis declined comment, telling Channel 3 to talk with the superintendent. Dr. Thomas Jama said he had no idea there was kicking and hitting involved until Channel 3 News told him.

"If there was an investigation and we found the young lady was kicked to the ground, there would have been serious consequences," Jama said.

Monica Nichols insists school officials were aware of what happened and still failed to discipline the students.

State records show there were 13,397 cases of intimidation and harassment and another 890 inxcidents of unwelcome sexual conduct in northeast Ohio public schools.

If you want to know how often your school district is disciplining bullies, you can go to the link below and find the rates of discipline.        

Disciplinary Actions for Harassment and Intimidation (PDF)

Disciplinary Actions for Unwelcome Sexual Conduct (PDF)


Most Watched Videos