Parents confront Kings Local School Board: Enough with the bullying

KINGS MILLS, OH (FOX19) - Dozens of parents packed into the Kings Local School Board meeting Tuesday night demanding change.

They say the bullying environment is out of control and the district needs to do more. Several signs were put in place outside of the school board building saying: "Ban Bullying."

Several parents delivered similar messages from the podium inside.

"Our children depend on adults to do the right thing and protect them," said Melissa Helton, a concerned parent.

Parents and former Kings Local students, who say they too were bullied, sounded off to the school board.

"Why do you allow a culture of abuse to thrive in your schools? The same people who are getting shoved into the red and blue lockers then are throwing themselves in front of buses now," said Jack Kangas, who is now homeschooled after his mother took him out of the school.

A video taken by a sixth grader at Columbia Intermediate School this past month gained a lot of attention -- it shows the student sitting silently on the bus as his peers berate him.

"You look like a little mentally disabled monkey or something," said one of the students in the video.

The boy's mother didn't want to be identified to prevent escalating the problem, but she says the bullying had been going on for three years.

"He's been punched poked thrown against lockers against the walls pushed to the floor and now shoved to the ground," said the boy's mother.

She says his classmates tease him because of a speech disorder. He no longer rides the bus but his mother says the bullying hasn't stopped.

When she picked up her son from school on Tuesday, she says she learned that he had another violent encounter with a student. It forced her to miss the school board meeting on Tuesday.

"He was shoved to the ground and had hit head first. When I went to go to pick him up from school we went took him straight to the pediatrician where we found out that he has a concussion," said the mother.

She says what's most upsetting is no one from the school has talked to her about her son being injured or addressed the previous incident on the bus. Some parents at the meeting say they ultimately had to take their children out of the schools. Now they are hoping that Tuesday's meeting will be the beginning of major changes going forward.

Tim Ackermann, superintendent of Kings Local Schools, says the district takes bullying seriously and after listening to the comments Tuesday they are working on plans on how to make the district better. He says one of the plans include building teacher-student relationships but did not say how that would be done.

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