After the tragic death of Surfside Middle School student, Gabbie Green, parents of students from several Bay District Schools met Sunday afternoon to discuss what they can do to stop bullying from happening in schools.
Amy Strout is the mother of a student at Surfside Middle School, and after watching her child become a victim of bullying, and helping her child recover from the loss of a classmate’s life from suicide, Strout has made combating bullying her full time mission.
But she and her husband, Steve, said that they believe Bay District School leaders are not doing their part to keep their children from being bullied.
“Bullies are going to this school, and administrators are not doing anything to help our children,” Amy said.
Through social media, the Strout’s coordinated a meeting with other parents to take matters into their own hands and come up with an action plan.
Many parents brought their children to that meeting to share their personal experiences of being bullied at school.
“I was bullied because of my friend choices again, and because of the way I wore my clothes, and the way I dressed and the way I talked,” one student said.
Jake Chapman, a parent of another student said because of bullying and the administration’s lack of help, he decided to take his child out of that school.
“He was an easy target for them to say ‘ok we’ll throw shade that way’ — we’re going to take him to the house and home school him to where we can be in a controlled environment,” Chapman said.
However, another parent, Amanda Golden, said that school officials did help when her daughter was a victim of bullying.
“She went to administration and her situation was handled, the bullying stopped at that point. She’s had some issues this year and went to the same administrator and has had positive feedback from that,” Golden said.
Director of Student Services, Lee Stafford, said in a comment that Bay District Schools has a bullying procedure that their staff is trained to use.
Parents do not believe that procedure is enough, and plan to go in front of the school board at their meeting on Jan. 23 to voice their opinions.