Bullying Reports Prompt Districtwide Meeting

Created: 09/04/2014 11:04 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- As the school year returns for students, so do concerns about bullying for parents.

Following a recent rash of reported bullying incidents, a group of local parents is looking to change their school district for the better.

And it all started with just one student.

"It's not fun, a lot of crying, a lot of emotions that go on,” said Jeremy Rogstad, who has four children in the Lake Mills Community School District.

Rogstad said his daughter was bullied for three years and now he wants things to change.

"We just didn't feel as parents we saw a system that could be followed in the school," Rogstad said.

On Thursday night, the district held an open meeting about bullying after a group of 16 parents recently came to district leaders with allegations that one student in particular was bullying their children.

District officials said they cannot release any information about specific reports of bullying or what kinds of disciplinary actions are taken against students, but they said Thursday’s meeting was intended to increase dialogue with parents.

"It is time we talk about this,” said Lake Mills Superintendent Daryl Sherman. “It's frustrating not only to [parents], but it's frustrating to us when they feel we're not telling them enough information when we can't legally."

Officials did not discuss the student in question at Thursday's meeting, choosing instead to focus on potential policy changes, with both administrators and parents saying they hoped to turn an ugly situation into a positive change.

"Any parent who has their child bullied or harassed wants to be communicated with,” Sherman said. “We know we're not problem-free in that way, we're not error-free, and we can improve on our communications."

"It's a hard conversation to bring up,” Rogstad said. “But our administration is open for us to come in and ask some difficult questions and we're excited to help the school in any way we can."

The district recently implemented a new program to reward students for positive behavior in hopes of eliminating negativity before it starts.