"The school bullying issue will receive even more attention from the Edmond School District, intent on identifying problem students before they act out," Steve Gust reports for The Oklahoman.
District Information Director Susan Parks-Schlepp said a committee has been planned since March to "better meet the needs of our students."
Serving on the panel will be district and site personnel as well as representatives of state agencies who specialize in mental health and substance abuse problems.
Another new member will be April Whelan. She is the mother of twins who just completed fourth grade at Edmond's Sunset Elementary. Whelan brought her concerns to the Edmond school board at its May 7 regular meeting. She told board members about the frustration she experienced dealing with a bully she called "John Doe." Barely into the second week of fall classes, a fourth-grader targeted one of her sons with physical and verbal assaults. The offender, she said, also had flipped a desk, cursed at school staff and thrown a trash can in the classroom.
Whelan told the board she took her concerns to Sunset administrators who kept telling her multiple times "it was a process" in dealing with the bully. The offender did receive more than one two-day suspension, but that didn't deter him, Whelan said. During the meeting she said the district's policies on bullying were "a joke."
After the meeting, Superintendent Bret Towne said he had not been aware of the Sunset incident until Whelan spoke to the board. He ordered an immediate investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, Edmond continues to remain vigilant against bullying, Parks-Schlepp said. "The district is troubled by reports of bullying and is committed to putting an end to student mistreatment by providing better training and resources to staff, implementing prevention programs and reviewing the bullying policy for possible revision."