District does nothing to stop bullying in schools

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The Walla Walla School District school bullying policy is a farce! It does nothing! That’s right, I said it — nothing.

I’ve sat back and listened to countless bullying incidents at elementary schools and have come to find out that the schools just give the kids a slap on the wrist and tell them not to do it again or there will be consequences. Hmm.

What consequences? They don’t take recess away, don’t make them write an apology, they don’t suspend them. So, what do they do — nothing!

I’m here to tell you there are no consequences. When is it OK for a child to punch other kids at recess or at school? How many times must a child be allowed to punch or kick a child before being suspended?

Parents write letters, fill out forms and the schools do nothing.

I’ve heard of kids punching kids on a bus, bringing a switchblade to school and telling other kids they are going to kill them or want them dead and the schools do nothing.

So, what is it waiting for? School officials want me to vote on a bond. I can tell you I will not vote “yes” on a bond until I see the schools doing their job!

Stop the bullies now. The Walla Walla School District should do its job

Max Berg

Walla Walla

Comments

wallyworldguy 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Max, Why would you think that a school system that can no longer do a decent job of teaching our kids, would be able to ( or even try to) discipline them?? The only time they come alive is when they are getting ready to promote a new bond or negotiate a new contract.

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fatherof5 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm in the process of putting five kids through Prospect Point, Garrison, and Wa-Hi. My kids have had almost universally terrific experiences with high expectations from their teachers and good support from the respective administrations. Wa-Hi's test scores are consistently higher than the state norm, even though the demographics suggest the scores should be lower.

To say the school system "can no longer do a decent job of teaching our kids" can not be a comment coming from someone who sees the work these teachers are doing for our kids on a day-to-day basis.

I can't speak to the circumstances described in the above letter, though it sounds a bit hyperbolic (no consequences for switch blades??? There's got to be more to that story.).

Regardless, I do question why the writer, whose letter is in support of kids, would threaten to vote against an upcoming bond as an expression of his anger. The bond isn't for the adults. The bond is for the students to enhance their educational opportunities.

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Myinput 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I have to side with Mr. Berg and Wally World Guy. Having children attend Prospect Point and Garrison and Wa-Hi myself I too have witnessed countless incidents of bullying and nothing is done. I have also heard of similiar bullying issues at Berney. But, the most cases have come from Prospect Point and then at Wa-Hi.

As for scores and etc. that the Father of Five mentions - - well the scores are padded. Did you know that kids can now retake tests? So, the scores don't really reflect what the school is doing - it only reflects what the school is doing AFTER they get to retake tests. Wasn't that way in my day. While I can appreciate the fact that they allow a student to retake a test so that they can make sure they "learn" it, the test scores that the district shows are NOT a reflection of what the students are doing. And trust me, the straight A and Explorer kids are all doing it!

All in all, the letter from Mr. Berg is right on. The District "says" they are doing something to prevent it - but have gone through it as a teen and to watch children get bullied as an adult is unacceptable. They are NOT doing their job, I agree. They may "teach" but they are not following through with consequences. So essentially it's "do as I say" but not as I do!

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fatherof5 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The test scores to which I was referring, Myinput, are standardized state tests, which are given once per year using the same methodology state-wide. They aren't "padded." You might be referring to how some individual teachers allow students to retake tests in their classes once they have mastered certain skills. (This is a "standards based" approach.) That's an entirely different thing and isn't used to compare student scores from school to school.

Since this letter came out, I've had conversations with other parents about bullying and how it gets handled. Some have positive stories and others have negative stories. (My experiences have been mostly positive.) For all I know, Mr. Berg has a legitimate beef with the instances he describes. I just bristle at the sweeping language that "the district does nothing." I know firsthand that this isn't true. And I especially bristle at the notion that out of protest for kids being hurt, we should not pass school bonds - which is just another way of negatively impacting kids.

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Myinput 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Actually Father of 5, most teachers in middle school and HS allow retakes and this is after they've done poorly on the FIRST test.

For instance, if they get a c or a d, they can retake the test. Some allow on B- as well. The grade they get on the re-take is the grade in the book. So, school report cards for the school are not the standardized tests, they are the "overall school grades of students." This re-take program is a district-wide program.

As for the languaget that Mr. Berg used regarding the Bond. I must admit I think that the WWSD needs to do some housekeeping before I'm too am willing to vote for a bond as well.

As for firsthand experience. I've personally been privvy to the do-nothing, slap on the wrist approach to kids that the WWSD takes. They do this big campaign that says they've hired Mark Thompson to head the anti-bullying campaign. What a joke. So, you fill out some paperwork and they stamp it. At our school one student has been called to the office countless times for kicking kids on they playground, pushing them down, puncing them in the stomach and nothing is done. Just a "we will handle it!" So, I'm with Mr. Berg, how long does this student get to stay in the mainstream and what does it take to get him expelled or punished?

For me, the WWSD has a tarnished reputation numerous times by not standing by their word and/or not doing what they say they are going to do. They are NOT trust-worthy (eventhough I like Mr. Miller).

I too have talked to several parents after this L to the E came out and I was appalled to the lack-there-of response regarding what they do.

Actions speak louder than words and their actions show me they don't care and choose to do nothing and close their eyes. I'm with Mr. Berg on this one. Thanks for speaking up, Mr. Berg, and bringing something into light that needs to be addressed.

When I start seeing the WWSD doing what they say they are going to do then I will see to it that I continue to invest into our institution. Until then, my vote will be NO. A new school will only help to give them something else to talk about and to continue to sweep this under the table.

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fatherof5 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Again, Myinput, we are talking about two types of tests. When wallyworldguy commented that "they no longer do a decent job teaching our kids," I rebutted his argument by citing Wa-Hi's superior test scores, as compared to state averages.

When you then wrote that the test scores I cited were "padded" because kids can retake them, I explained that I was talking about the kind of tests that are given statewide once per year. These are not padded or offered as retakes until you get the score you want. I differentiated these from the types of classroom tests that some teachers allow students to re-take in individual class.

You then repeated your claim, as if you hadn't read or understood the distinction I had made.

So, to be clear, schools across the state are not ranked or compared based on how a student does on a re-taken test in Mrs. Somebody's class at Garrison. They are compared by standardized tests given under strict protocols using the same methodology at every school in the state. Thus, after ten years of learning in the Walla Walla School District, despite socio-economic factors that would typically predict lower scores, it is impressive that Wa-Hi's 10th graders score above state averages. This is a good indicator that learning is, indeed, happening in this district.

That was my point. And that - along with the quality experience my own children continue to have - is good enough evidence for me to want to support this district....and more importantly, to support the students in this district by providing them with optimal facilities in which to learn.

All that being said, if there are schools not fully addressing issues of bullying, that should be addressed constructively. This district isn't perfect. No district is. Let's just not overstate it.

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janrocks 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Unfortunately this is a problem that was the same as when I was in school many, many, many years ago. Both parents and schools need to educate children as best as possible how not to be a victim. It's sad, but you can't act like a sheep in this world and expect someone or an entity like the school to protect you at every moment, and make everyone "be nice". It's really better to learn early on in life - it's just gets rougher the longer you are sheltered without learning the skills to cope. Not to say no discipline for bullies! Just that the problem needs to be worked from both sides.

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Myinput 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I agree Janrocks - however, then the District should not say they have all these policies in place to handle/stop it. Or…better yet, maybe they should call it "sweep it under the table bullying policy."

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fishmark54 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Cops went to Garrison today related to a sudden onset 'Garrison bullying incident' (love the media letters to the editor). The bully's daddy showed up after school hours and the cops were called back to the school. Father of Five (so in the know) please explain that one and was daddy dearest arrested for terrifying the staff? You are the well breed expert on this issue...

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fatherof5 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry, fishmark54, I just asked my Garrison kids and we are all in the dark here. You get to be the expert on this one. Btw, your post's combination of slight incoherence with a strong dose of snark isn't as easy to pull off as most people think. (The secret ingredient is the parentheticals.) Not sure of your point, though.

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MFMarinersFan 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Unfortunately, bullying happens in the workplace too, where the bullies are often rewarded and promoted.

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