Schools, parents come together to combat bullying

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 11:41 PM EST
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - For the first time, local school corporations, parents and mental health professionals are working together to combat bullying.

They attended a bullying prevention forum at North Side Middle School Tuesday night.

The event was hosted by Elkhart Community Schools Parent Coalition, in collaboration with Concord and Goshen Schools.

“ takes time to grow stuff and it takes time for people to get comfortable working together. We’ve hit the bumps in the the effort and the work that it takes to provide a better environment not just in our schools, but in our community for our kids,” said Parent and Advocate Aaron Ball.

A group of panelists said things like:

“Bullying is an adverse childhood experience.”

“Corporations need to identify the root of the behavior.”

“We need to help address emotional and social needs.”

“If you see something, report it!

“They are afraid to approach their administrators. They are afraid to have conversations with their teachers because they are worried about backlash, but the more we know, the better we can do,” said Assistant Superintendent of Student Services for Elkhart Community Schools Lindsey Brander.

“Expectations for the culture we build in our schools. We have an expectation that our teachers know our students very well and are observing behaviors continually,” said Director of Secondary Programming Equity & Inclusion at Goshen Community Schools Lori Shreiner.

Back in March,12-year-old Rio Allred took her own life after being bullied multiple times at North Side Middle School.

Since her death, calls grew louder to investigate the bullying problem in Michiana and to start working together to get this right.

“We don’t want it to stop here in Elkhart. We want it to spread like wildfire and really make change beyond us,” said Child & Parent Advocate Jessi Yost.

“If other states and other places don’t know how to, then let us set the pace. We will work with anybody. It doesn’t matter who it is,” said Ball.

The parent coalition is hosting another community forum on February 23.