Owen Valley High School: Family says school, police ignoring bullying
School bullying isn't confined to hallways and playgrounds anymore. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, there are more platforms students are using to attack each other, and local schools report bullying cases are up.
The challenges of sorting through all the accusations is a full-time job. A Spencer family is frustrated with what they believe is a lack of response, and they're going public, hoping the exposure will make the bully back off.
"My child is being bullied and they're not doing anything about it. She's not safe," said Karlisa Deatherage.
Karlisa doesn't know what else to do or where else to turn. She says for the last five months, her daughter CheyAnne has been the target of relentless bullying at Owen Valley High School.
"To beat the F out of me, to rearrange my face," said CheyAnne, describing the language the bully uses.
CheyAnne says the bully has made verbal threats, posted threats on Facebook and sent many more through text messages. She says one was texted by the bully's mother to her own mother!
"F*** your nasty, stanky, sluttly, worthless a****. I am done with you and she will be punished one way or another. I will make sure."
"That came from the mother of the bully to you?" we asked.
"Yes," said Karlisa.
After more than one attempt to get help from the school, Karlisa went to the sheriff's department where she feels she still didn't get the assistance she needed. So we went straight to the top to talk to the superintendent about the challenges in dealing with bullying cases like this.
"Any time a situation is brought to a teacher or school administration's knowledge, the expectation is that it will be dealt with very directly and immediately," said Greg Linton, Spencer-Owen Community Schools Superintendent.
But Mr. Linton, like administrators in many school districts, admits tracking and punishing bullying through texting and social media has become a monumental task.
"It creates a lot of problems outside of school and those problems are brought into the school setting for school administrators to sort out who said what and when," said Mr. Linton.
"There's no set definition for bullying so it's really hard for schools to decide what constitutes bullying," said Tracie Wells, children and family advocate.
Traci Wells is an advocate for Bully Safe Indiana. She also supports pending state legislation to change school anti-bullying policies.
"We want to change the culture through simple definitions and reporting," said Tracie.
Tracie says pending legislation would create standardized definitions and training, but would still allow individual districts to tailor the programs to their specific environments and culture. As for CheyAnne's situation, the superintendent says the district will follow up with her complaints in a more aggressive search for a solution.