Parents Speak Out Against Bullying at Bay District Schools Board Meeting

PANAMA CITY, Fla - The tragic death of Surfside Middle School student, Gabriella Green started a conversation about bullying in Bay District Schools. 

Tuesday, parents went to the school board meeting to share their concerns and experiences when it comes to bullying in local schools.

"A 12-year-old girl Gabriella Green died and she didn't have to," said a parent to the school board.

One by one, parents and community members spoke directly to board members regarding bullying in Bay District Schools.

"Inaction is negligence and principal Harrell and superintendent Husfelt share negligence in the death of Gabie Green," said a parent.

Parents argued the school district is not doing enough to prevent bullying and offered their own suggestions from creating a bully prevention task force to calling for the resignation of Surfside principal, Sue Harrell, and members of the school board.

"I think we need some new blood with some new ideas. Doing the same we've been doing isn't cutting it. Really it took a child's death to really motivate some change that were asking for," said Surfside Middle School parent Steve Strout. 

"It's sad. These kids cannot get away with this kind of stuff and another child cannot lose their life over this," said Surfside Middle School parent Amy Strout. 

School board Vice Chairman Steve Moss's child attends Surfside. He said as a parent he has no complaints about the school but as a board member he says there's more work to be done.

"For me education is going to be the most critical part of this or at least the first step in making sure everybody knows what we expect of them both from an employee stand point but from our students in general," said Moss. 

Two students were arrested Monday in relation to Green's death and charged with Cyberbullying and Cyberstaliking.

Superintendent Bill Husfelt said when it comes to social media there is only so much the district can do because they cannot monitor cell phones, only the computers and chrome books the schools provide. 

"Kids know how to circumvent keeping their parents out of their business but parents have got to get savvier. Parents have got to get more more into what their children are doing and what their children are being exposed to," said Husfelt. 

By the end of the meeting both parents and the board agreed things need to change. 

Husfelt met with Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford Tuesday morning and discussed solutions to bullying. The parents who came to Tuesday's meeting plan to keep up their fight until the district takes adequate action. 

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