ECS Parent Coalition will testify to state lawmakers

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 11:47 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Members of the Elkhart Community Schools (ECS) Parent Coalition will testify at the Indiana Statehouse Wednesday to support an anti-bullying bill.

The parent coalition is calling on the community to support House Bill 1483, which has passed the Indiana House and is currently in the Senate.

“More than anything we all have a voice that we can speak up,” said Gabriela Madrigal, who is on the ECS Parent Coalition.

“Members of the parent coalition have basically tasked the State of Indiana to be trendsetters, to lead the charge in this,” said Rio Allred’s stepfather, Aaron Ball.

The bill prohibits bullying in schools and requires schools to prioritize the safety of the victim.

Over a year ago, Rio Allred, of Elkhart, took her own life after being bullied at North Side Middle School.

Since her death, calls have been growing louder to investigate the bullying problem in schools.

“This is the work that the parent coalition and Rio’s Rainbow and everybody associated with it has been working towards the entire time. And so, this bill is going to come up on Wednesday, and we’re hoping legislation will be passed to effect real change and really start helping our kids,” said Ball.

The parent coalition has also submitted the following language addition request, advocating that school employees “confidentially document and track all occurrences for both the victim and the child exhibiting bullying and/or abusive behavior,” and that a school “prioritizes corresponding interventions to ensure the safety and well-being for the at-risk child identified.”

“I just feel like there’s been a lot of work. A lot of work in the background, with a lot of people. This is what we’ve been trying to do,” said Rio Allred’s Mother, Nicole Ball.

There is also a lot of work being done here locally to address bullying.

The parent coalition, for example, works with both the victim and bully, offering them resources.

They also meet with teachers and administrators, acting on students’ behalf.

On a state level, they have met with politicians.

“A lot of the time the school board says ‘parents, don’t get involved, don’t do that,’ at some point we have to show not just the school board, but we have to show other parents how it’s done,” said Madrigal.

The parent coalition is asking for your help by completing a “statement of support.”

You can download the PDF below: