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Lanesboro School Board revisits bullying issue

Fri, Nov 19th, 2010
Posted in Education

After a short meeting of the Lanesboro School Board on November 16, Karen and Terry Neneman spoke out about the bullying that her daughter recently received. Karen read a statement she had prepared, and gave the board members a separate document that informed them of the details of the incidents.

Neneman said her daughter, who was in the seventh grade at Lanesboro, was taken out of the school on November 5. She said the events that occurred and the way it was handled by the administration led to the decision that Lanesboro School was no longer safe for their child.

Neneman's daughter called her from school, crying because there were kids harassing her. Neneman had a meeting with high school personnel, and was told that each event that happened must be dealt with as a separate matter. There would be no cumulative aspect to any punishment. Neneman said she was also told that the word "bullying" had been overused.

The next day her daughter called again and Neneman told her to go to the office. In the office, her daughter was told that she needed to know the difference between bullying and not liking someone.

"I was appalled that my child was made to feel that she was in the wrong," said Neneman. She then made the decision to take her child out of the school.

"Did I overreact by taking her out of school?" asked Neneman. "Maybe. But she is the fourth student in that class to leave because of the same issue. I didn't want to wait until the situation escalated and she was hurt physically or mentally."

Neneman said the school has a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for children. She would like to see a clear and concise plan put into place that applies to all students. She added that she has received no communication from the school or the board since removing her child.

Neneman also said it was very hard to take her child out of school, as they are a part of the community of Lanesboro. "It has been an extremely hard time for all of us."

Ceil Allen, who is a member of the City Council, spoke up as well, and said she has received calls from two parents who previously removed their child from the school due to a bullying issue. She asked about the Second Step program that was implemented last year, and if it was still in place.

Superintendent Jeff Boggs said the program is still in place, along with a PBIS, or Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. He said students do receive disciplinary action and there are consequences.

Boggs later stated that the four children who have left that class did not all leave because of bullying, but other reasons as well.

Lanesboro resident Mimi Abell said she knows the students that are involved and she hopes that there can be some sort of resolution, as she would hate to see any more kids leave.

Board member Sara Decker said they need to keep working together for a solution and think positively, not negatively. Neneman said that as a parent it is difficult to be positive.

Chairman Dave Ruen thanked everyone for their comments, and said the school board takes these matters very seriously.

Other Business

Boggs informed the board that there will no longer be a separate meeting for a tax hearing. It will all be handled during the regular December meeting.

The board approved an early out at 11:32 on December 23, before the winter break.

The board also approved a contract for Chrissy Overland to direct the school play in March.

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