A Thompson parent has gone as far as contacting the RCMP in order to put a stop to the bullying of her 11-year old son.
Crystal, who asked that her last be withheld to protect her son from further bullying, has been dealing with her son being bullied for the past two years and became fed up with no solution being found. Crystal has made sure that her son is not in the same class as the student who has been bullying him; she has also gone as far as to have her son’s school schedule altered so he is not leaving class at the same time as his bully.
The administration at Burntwood Elementary School has dealt with the student that bullies Crystal’s son in previous years, though this year with a new principal, Crystal is concerned that the problems will just start up again.
“Last year there was an incident between my son and the bully which resulted in the bully being suspended,” said Crystal, “I’ve been told that the school is going to work with the bully and his parents. I’ve told the school that my son doesn’t want to run home from school any more, but he was bugged again on the first day of school.”
Former Burntwood principal and current School District of Mystery Lake (SDML) assistant superintendent Angele Bartlett is very familiar with Crystal’s situation and says that dealing with bullies can be a tricky task due to the different needs of different children. Bartlett, along with fellow assistant superintendent Lorie Henderson, has been one of two senior SDML administration officials for the last nine months since former superintendent Bev Hammond resigned. The board of trustees has no immediate plans to recruit or hire a new superintendent to replace Hammond.
“We have a code of conduct and we have the safe schools policy,” said Bartlett, “I know when you have one very vocal parent it can make the problem seem rampant but I think that’s a little bit unfair. You have to be careful when these situations arise because some kids have special needs, they’re not exactly being a bully, they just don’t have very good boundaries; it’s no different than an adult who may have a different capacity, and they will be treated differently in a court of law if they do something wrong.”
Bartlett explained that there really isn’t a black and white answer for what is to be done with bullying and that each situation must be looked at individually with regards to a child’s prior history, whether or not they have special needs, and what the issues may be.
The situation has since been diffused with Crystal’s son, as the bully has been moved to another school after Crystal put in a call to the RCMP.
“The police told me that they can’t actually do anything, but it was notarized and the bully has been removed from the school at this point and we haven’t had an incident since,” said Crystal.
Bartlett says that the reality is that kids will be physical with one another and that the board is doing what they can to stem bullying.
“Kids get physical in their own homes in much smaller groups, so why would people expect that on a playground with 450 students that the kids will never get physical? It’s what kids do,” said Bartlett, “if I said that I didn’t pick on my brother or hit him as a child I would be lying; I understand that Crystal has been frustrated and I just hope that she is feeling better about the way that the situation has been rectified.”