Some Neosho High School students are claiming several months of harassment and are now saying they’ve had enough.
“The numbers have been threatening to beat us up,” says Jocelyn Wall.
“How they want to beat me up, call me every cuss word in the dictionary you can think of,” says Seann Bounous.
Those text messages over the past several months has Jocelyn Wall and Seann Bounous fearing for their safety.
“I mean it makes me sad, you know, it scares me honestly,” says Jocelyn Wall.
“Threatened. I can’t focus on school work that’s for sure. My grades have gone down so much I haven’t paid attention anymore,” says Seann Bounous.
The superintendent says he cannot comment on specific cases, but says bullying is taken very seriously at Neosho. He says “when information concerning suspected bullying is shared with staff members, staff members use various methods to investigate. Investigations could include interviews, watching video footage, examining evidence, speaking to law enforcement and other avenues, as needed, to attempt to get a full picture of what is happening.” Both the kids and their parents say they just want this situation and to be able to move on.
“More procedures this is how it should go, you know, this is our promise to you, please report it. And I think that if you actually started to crack down on the bullying the bullies would be reported on more,” says Adam Wall, Jocelyn’s Father.
“What I want out of this? I just want help,” says Jocelyn Wall.
As far as the school policy on bullying, the school handbook only lists what the infractions are when a student is found bullying.
Response to Media Inquiry of Bullying – statement from superintendent Jim Cummins
As the media is well aware, oftentimes the school system is unable to share information about specific cases. This one is no different. However, we are able to speak in general terms about our policies and procedures.
Our staff takes all reports of bullying seriously. They also make effort to help parents and students understand what actions constitute bullying. When information concerning suspected bullying is shared with staff members, staff members use various methods to investigate. Investigations could include interviews, watching video footage, examining evidence, speaking to law enforcement and other avenues, as needed, to attempt to get a full picture of what is happening.
Administrators are faced with challenges when dealing with bullying claims. First, it is not uncommon for students to tell others about their situation prior to telling a teacher or administrator. School officials can only investigate that of which they are made aware. Second, communication is often made in vague references giving administrators little with which to work. Finally, there are occasions when the reports are found to be exaggerated, or even untrue. These occurrences put school personnel in a tough situation and unable to comment on the ultimate findings.
I am confident in the due diligence being put forth by our high school staff. Their hard work to get to the bottom of issues has been apparent. Neosho PD has also been engaged when necessary. I believe society will always have people who try to power over others. School settings are no different. However, when those situations are brought to the attention of school personnel in the Neosho School District, I believe each situation is being addressed.
Our goal is to be proactive, and reactive when need be, to create a safe place for all of our students.