Bullying at ‘Busco? District reported 0 incidents, most recent data shows

15 Finds Out

CHURUBUSCO, Ind. (WANE) — Indiana Code 20-34-6-1, also known as Indiana’s Student Safety Reporting Law, requires school corporations to report student bullying and arrest data for each school to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) each year.

There are four types of incidents that IDOE requires schools to report— verbal, physical, social or relational, and electronic or written communication.

In 2018, state lawmakers passed House Enrolled Act 1356. The anti-bullying law is meant to compel schools to report bullying incidents. It also ensures that the reports do not affect a school corporation’s overall performance grade given by the state.

According to data provided by the IDOE, bullying is a non-issue at both Churubusco Elementary and Jr-Sr High Schools. During the 2020-2021 academic year, no bullying incidents in any form were reported by either school.

However, a number of parents say that’s hardly the case.

At Smith-Green Community Schools’ board meeting on Monday night, a parent said several students were being urinated on while in a middle school locker room. She also claimed that some students were also touched inappropriately. The incident prompted an investigation by the Indiana State Police Department and the Churubusco Police Department.

The district has until July 2022 to report this.

While these particular instances are more recent, according to parents at the meeting, Churubusco has a lengthy history of bullying occurring.

“It’s gotten worse the last several years,” said a woman during the meeting. “This isn’t the only as soon as this happened either I’ve had numerous parents tell me that this is happening all the time… I don’t feel like this is a safe place anymore.”

Another parent said her son was bullied all through elementary school. Midway through sixth, he decided “couldn’t take it” and since “no one was listening,” he got himself expelled so he wouldn’t have to come to school anymore.

“He is scarred by this school’s community,” said the woman. “He can’t go back to the park without everybody bringing it up. Things that happened over his time here with the school is a serious issue, it needs to be addressed.”

The woman’s son isn’t the only student, who left the district because of bullying.

“I personally know four kids that have been bullied,” said another woman. “One was in kindergarten and one in first grade, they have moved to another school where they have to drive their child because nothing happened two years ago.”

Churubusco’s Jr-Sr student handbook states that “bullying is serious and will not be tolerated.”

Based off Monday night’s meeting, it appears the school administration has taken some steps to deter bulling. Several parents claimed that “all that happens is students get suspended for two days.”

However, those same parents said they feel the punishments need to be more severe, as bullying continues to be a problem. Though it’s not clear when the particular incidents occurred, this also raises the question about why incidents that warranted a suspension weren’t reported.

Smith-Green Community Schools Superintendent, Dr. Daniel Hile, did not return any of WANE 15’s calls or emails when asked for further comment about the situation, or about why no bullying incidents were reported.

In a video released on Thursday, Hile said he “will always do [his] best to be informed and engaged and to always be as transparent as possible while still following all of the laws and requirements in schools.”

Indiana State Police say they are unable to release any details about their investigation at this time.

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