SULLIGENT, Miss. (WCBI)-Bullying has become one of the biggest headaches for school districts anywhere as they try to sort out the he said-she said of facts versus perception.
For parents, it’s also a headache trying to look out for the interests of their children.
Some parents and administrators at a West Alabama school district are struggling with the issue.
Mechelle and Jeff Vance say their daughter is being bullied at Sulligent High School and that they can’t get anyone to do anything about it.
But others say it’s a personal conflict among students and that discipline is being handed out where it is warranted.
“She has always been kind of picked on in school and you know we’re just to the point we’re tired of it. You know, we know its against the law for somebody to bully and for schools to put up with bullying,” said Jeff Vance, Parent.
“She dreads going to school. She dreads what’s going to happen, what they’re going to do to her, what they’re going to call her,” said Mechelle Vance.
And so now the school district is left to sort out the facts and investigate the alleged acts of harrassment.
The Vances say it’s gotten beyond verbal sparring to physical acts to the point where they’ve had to pay for damages.
“It’s the same little group of kids that’s doing it. Put pancake and syrup in her school books and called her names all day,” added Jeff vance.
“You know we’ve had kids at our school, one girl got her car vandalized, got her car vandalized sitting in our parking lot, school parking lot,” said Mechelle Vance.
Lamar County, like school districts everywhere, have anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies.
Administrators say they take the complaints seriously because they can escalate.
They also must make sure the facts are balanced and it’s not just students mad at other students.
“Said if a student is being harassed, bullied or whatever term you want to use there, then there is a form for them to fill out. They need to sign that form, carry it home. Their parents also need to sign that form, so we don’t have allegations that it’s not substantial there,” said Garth Moss, Lamar County Schools Superintendent.
Moss says students have been suspended and that the punishment can be worse.
And like so many other administrators who wish it weren’t a problem, Moss knows bullying won’t go away anytime soon.
For bullying, a student can face suspension or expulsion and can be referred to the criminal justice system.