Some area parents say district failing to address bullying issue - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Some area parents say district failing to address bullying issues

RAYMORE, MO (KCTV) -

A local mother says bullying got so bad at her daughter's school that she is now home schooling her, and other parents say this is not an isolated incident.

Some parents in the Raymore-Peculiar School District have turned to Facebook to talk about the bullying that they say their children are enduring, and that the district is failing to take appropriate actions.

District spokeswoman Michele Stidham said school officials cannot comment on specific cases due to privacy laws.

"Bullying awareness and prevention programs are in place at every school. Social media has allowed bullying to become a 24/7 concern and will require families and school officials to work together to resolve issues," she said.

Stidham added that the district takes bullying seriously and that reports are investigated and followed up with punishments outlined in the student handbook.

But outraged parents, students and former students say differently.

With her parents' support, Amber Hillyer left the district's classrooms because of the bullying.

"Number one no one talks about it," said Hillyer, a former student at Raymore-Peculiar High School, where she says she felt alone, bullied and afraid.

"I started missing a lot of school because in the mornings I was having anxiety attacks where I was hyperventilating and crying so hard," she said.

She says she started failing classes, because she was missing school, and couldn't focus when she was there, all because of how she says her fellow classmates treated her.

"People definitely called me names and definitely said things about me," said Hillyer.

She is now taking classes online, and learning she's not so alone after all.

A Facebook page has been created to allow parents to discuss the bullying in the district, and a common theme emerges. The district is looking the other way.

"I'm telling you this stuff every day that people are doing to me, I don't even want to get out of bed and come to school, and you're ignoring me," said Hillyer.

Hillyer says she reported the bullying to administrators, but claims the kids didn't get in trouble. She says their parents weren't even told.

"I think every time that happens, they should call their parents and inform them. If your parents know and they're like hey that's not OK, they're going to stop doing it, eventually," said Hillyer.

Now that she's out of school, Hillyer's struggling to regain a normal life, and her mom's relieved to see she's finally finding some friends and doing better.

KCTV5 asked the Ray-Pec School District just how many reported cases of bullying they've had this year, and what the outcomes of those cases were. They said they would work on compiling that information for us on Friday.

Here is the district's statement in its entirety:

"The Raymore-Peculiar School District expects all students, staff and parents to demonstrate self-respect, respect for others and respect for all things in their environment. As such, the district takes all reports of bullying seriously.

"Such reports are investigated by school officials. When it is determined that bullying has occurred, student/parent handbooks for each school outline discipline consequences in cases of malicious harassment or intentional intimidation, including bullying and cyber-bullying.

"Bullying awareness and prevention programs are in place at every school. Social media has allowed bullying to become a 24/7 concern and will require families and school officials to work together to resolve issues.

"We will continue to do what we can to maintain a safe and productive learning environment for all students at school and school-related activities."

To see the Facebook page, click here. The issues are being discussed as well on another page you can find by clicking here.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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