Local students, parents speak out on bullying in schools

Local students, parents speak out on bullying in schools

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"I ask a lot you know, if they are. And if they are, I will tell them always tell your teacher first and then tell us," Wayne Kile says. "I ask a lot you know, if they are. And if they are, I will tell them always tell your teacher first and then tell us," Wayne Kile says.
"I think when he just does it, I'll just ignore him and then he'll just think not to do it anymore because it doesn't bother me," Luke Mashburn says. "It doesn't really make me feel good, it makes me feel bad." "I think when he just does it, I'll just ignore him and then he'll just think not to do it anymore because it doesn't bother me," Luke Mashburn says. "It doesn't really make me feel good, it makes me feel bad."

By JAMIE LYNN DROHAN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Local students and parents are speaking out about bullying after nine Massachusetts students were charged in the death of a high school freshman.

Phoebe Prince, 15, hanged herself in January after she was reportedly bullied for months. Nine of her fellow students face charges in connection with her death.

Prince was reportedly harassed, mostly at school, but also on Facebook, by older students who resented her dating an older football player.

Some parents at Prince's school are outraged that school officials aren't facing charges after they admitted they knew the bullying was happening.

Experts say these days, cyber bullies can pick on their victims by clicking a mouse or sending a text message.

A high school student, who didn't want to be identified, said Tuesday he sees bullying take place almost daily.

He said he's also been on the receiving end and didn't handle it well. The student said he became depressed and didn't want to go back to school, but got comfort from his parents.

Wayne Kile, of Sweetwater, has two children ages six and eight. He says he frequently asks them how they're treated in school and believes kids need to be monitored on the Internet.

"I ask a lot you know, if they are. And if they are, I will tell them always tell your teacher first and then tell us," Kile says.

Third grader Luke Mashburn attends Sweetwater Intermediate School. He says he told his father about a situation, but that hasn't stopped a kid on his baseball team from harassing others.

"I think when he just does it, I'll just ignore him and then he'll just think not to do it anymore because it doesn't bother me," Mashburn says. "It doesn't really make me feel good, it makes me feel bad."

Dr. David Dupper, an associate professor in the University of Tennessee College of Social Work says it's not just parents who need to take responsibility. All adults have to realize they're role models.

"I think adults are responsible in several ways. Parents obviously have the most impact on their children. I believe adults need to model how to work through conflict because obviously kids who come from homes with bullying behaviors, they are more likely to bully," Dr. Dupper says.

He also says there are signs you can look for to know if your child is being bullied. Those include changes in mood or behavior along with claims of being sick and not wanting to go to class.

Experts advise confronting bullies early on or bullying can become a lifelong pattern that's very destructive.

For more information on how Knox County Schools handle bullying, their Web site has policies and procedures posted. Click here to view them.

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