WOODLAND (CBS13) — Bullying was front and center in Woodland on Thursday. After months of pressure from fed-up parents, the school board officially addressed the issue.
The outcry follows at least two recent cases of severe bullying that gained public attention. One was so serious, a student was assigned a campus escort. Parents say bullying problems are not being made a priority, while the district admits it can do better.
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“The kids had drug him—two kids—and stuck pebbles and grass in his mouth,” said grandmother Candi Martinez.
The stories of bullying continue to surface within the Woodland Joint Unified School District. Martinez says she’s terrified to send her 12-year-old young grandson to school.
“We seem to have a systematic failure,” said Martinez.
Many school board members agreed they’re getting more bullying reports than ever. Last month, a high school freshman tried to take her own life, and when she returned to school, her mom says she was assigned an escort to get around campus.
“That child has a bodyguard paid for by our school district. Our district is losing money. It shouldn’t even come to that,” she said.
The district couldn’t confirm the bodyguard claims but said the practice has never been used before.
“We have not had escorts for students as a result of bullying,” said Woodland Unified Executive Director of Pupil Services Geovanni Linares.
Board members weighed long-term solution and changes, including stricter punishments for bullies, mandatory tracking of incidents and better communication with parents.
“How many times have our children been bullied and our parents don’t know and they don’t know to intervene?” asked Martinez.
“That’s an area of growth for us, definitely,” said Linares.
Linares said the district also plans to make uniform policies to deal with bullying at all schools and follow up with parents about incidents.
Martinez says things have to change, and now.
“We’ve got a real problem and we need to address it. we can’t afford to let it go.”