School bullying, once silent battle, now a crime

By Christine Armario
Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — In a Tampa middle school locker room, prosecutors say four flag football players held down a younger teammate and committed a horrifying assault: Raping him with a hockey stick and a broom handle.

“Don’t do it again or this is going to happen to you again,” a witness says he heard one of the boys say in the April attack.

Two decades ago, the attack may have stayed a secret. Victims of hazing, bullying and sexual assault are still often too terrified to report their attackers — though officials say that’s starting to change.

Police are called to investigate everything from cyber-bullying and schoolyard fights to brutal hazing rituals, and tormenters can be prosecuted under anti-bullying laws in dozens of states. Proactive parents aren’t afraid to confront school officials or take the matter to court, and schools are training students and teachers alike to spot and report bullying. Full story.


N.Y.: Sherburne students set out to stop bullying

By Jessica Lewis
The Evening Sun
SHERBURNE – Fourth graders at Sherburne-Earlville identified a problem in their school this year, and the active students refuse to take the issue lying down. On Monday night, a group addressed the school board about the issue of bullying.

A group of fourth grade students organized earlier in the school year around the slogan “S-E stops bullying together.” The 18 students in Mrs. Johnson’s class identified bullying as an issue and are taking steps to prevent it. According to the parent of one student in the class, the idea for the group came after one of the students in the class was the victim of bullying on the playground. The class began discussing the problem and how they could help each other. Full story.

Mother says school ignored bully attacks on her son

By Jaimee Lynn Fletcher
The Orange County Register
LOS ALAMITOS — The mother of an 11-year-old alleges the Los Alamitos Unified School District ignored her pleas to discipline a group of bullies she says beat up her son on at least two occasions, leaving the sixth grader with a concussion, bruises and scratches.

School officials say they always examine claims of bullying and conduct extensive investigations.
Violet Raminfard said she is desperate for help after multiple attempts appealing to Oak Middle School officials and the district to stop the attacks on her son, Bernard Raminfard. Full story.

Reporting bullying while minimizing backlash on child
Know the signs
You know your child the best. You will probably be the first one to notice any changes in your child’s behaviour. As soon as you notice any changes, start keeping a diary.

The changes to look out for:
— Refusal or reluctance to go to school
— Requests for you to drive them instead of catching the bus
— Complaints of stomach aches or headaches (could be a sign of anxiety)
— Sleeping in or wetting the bed
— A fall in the child’s grades or reports from the teacher that you child is withdrawing from some activities.

While these could be an indication of other issues that could be causing the child anxiety, make sure that you explore the issue of bullying with your child. Full story.

Bullying: It’s not a rite of passage

By Ryan Carter
Every day thousands of children across the world wake up afraid to go to school, fearful of how their peers might treat them.

And even though schools have policies in place discouraging bullying and administrators can takes steps to prevent it, the problem never completely goes away.

“Since about the first or second grade and now at the new Miami Trace Elementary, my younger brother has been bullied,” said a Miami Trace graduate who requested anonymity. “It has become a real problem and my mother and I aren’t happy with the response we’ve gotten from the school. We have talked to teachers and counselors and their advice is always the same, ‘Walk away.'” Full story.

Police accuse teacher of bullying child

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., (UPI) — Police in New Rochelle, N.Y., say a substitute teacher allegedly put an 11-year-old child in a choke hold and called him names over a dodgeball game.
The New York Post said Wednesday that 58-year-old substitute gym teacher Daniel Sanabria faces charges of third-degree assault, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child over the alleged incident at Daniel Webster Elementary School.

Sanabria is accused of responding to student’s opposition to a dodgeball ruling by calling him names and pushing his head into a wall before placing the child in a choke hold. Full story.

Florida families protest school bullying

By Matt King
Times Herald-Record

FLORIDA — K.C. Cummings had a tough first year at school. A small group of other students taunted him, pushed him around and punched him.

“They hurt my feelings,” the 5-year-old kindergarten student said Monday afternoon. “I don’t know why. No reason.”

The Cummingses finally pulled their son out of Golden Hill Elementary School after pressing Florida School District officials all year, without a resolution, to help K.C.

Monday, they took their fight to the street, organizaing an anti-bullying protest to draw more attention to the issue. Full story.