KEYSER - Three parents and grandparents who said they are tired of nothing being done about bullying at Keyser Middle School appealed to the Mineral County Board of Education recently to take a stand against the problem.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The names of the parents and grandparents are being withheld to help protect the identity of their children.)

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Three parents and grandparents who said they are tired of nothing being done about bullying at Keyser Middle School appealed to the Mineral County Board of Education recently to take a stand against the problem.
The first parent to speak said she felt the problem is being “swept under the rug,” because it has been reported to school personnel and ignored.
“No parent should have their child come home and say, ‘I don’t want to go to school because they’re pinching me and calling me names,” she said.
In one instance, the parent said her child was bullied but ended up being the one punished for the exchange between the students.
“My child got suspended for five days because someone called him the N-word,” she said.
The parent added that, when she reported the incident to the principal, he told the child to “toughen up” and commented that “boys will be boys.”
“These are our kids,” she said. “They go to school to learn, not be bullied.
“What can we do?” she asked the board. “What are the plans? This is just awful for these kids.”
Board president Rob Woy told her superintendent Shawn Dilly would be asked to talk to the principal about the situation “to try to come up with some solutions.
“It is a problem every school faces,” he continued. “It’s something schools across the nation fight. We’re not the only ones.”
One of the grandmothers signed up to speak on the subject told the board about her grandchild getting “busted in the nose by a bully and the school didn’t even call his parents.”
On other occasions, the child “got pushed by another kid who wanted to be first in line … and has gotten kicked in the privates … He don’t want to go to the bathroom at school because he’s afraid he’ll get jumped,” she said.
“Where are the teachers when these kids need protected?” she asked.
Noting that some children are driven to suicide by unrelenting bullies, she said, “This has got to stop! What’s it going to take? To lose all these kids to suicide? Would you want to bury your son or daughter because someone bullied them?” she asked the board.
The third speaker told the board about the day her grandson cut himself 32 times on the arm out of anxiety over being bullied.
“The kids smash his food and take food off his tray, but he can’t say anything because he gets after-school suspension,” she said.
His case was also reported to the school and, according to his grandmother, was also ignored.
“Every time he tried to get help, he was told, ‘Stop being a baby’ or ‘suck it up,’” she said.
“I’m really angry. I’ve watched people leave here because of the way these kids are treated…your kids are out of control and the staff is out of control.”
The first speaker suggested forming a committee to work on solutions for the problem, and perhaps involving a child advocate to help those who are suffering from bullying.
“I was bullied when I went through the school; I don’t want my grandson going through this,” she said. “These teachers need more training in anti-bullying.”
Classes in diversity and acceptance were also suggested by the concerned parents.
Woy told the speakers he appreciated the fact that they brought the problem to the board, but also that they came offering to work with the board on finding solutions.
“Bullying is a problem. It’s a concern every single day,” he said. “I take seriously what each of you has said.”
He suggested the superintendent, assistant superintendent Dwight Williams, and KMS principal Edward Holler meet with the women to try to come up with some solutions.
“I do like some of the suggestions you’ve made,” Dilly told the speakers. “We will get a meeting set up soon.”