Pattonville parents urge an offensive to counter bullying
Two months removed from the sometimes-vicious halls of sixth grade, Rachel McCormick took her seat at the Pattonville School Board on Tuesday night unsure if she would speak.
Rachel, 12, had been bullied all year, she and her mother said — despite the district’s anti-bullying policies. Despite the emphasis on character education. Despite the meetings with school administrators.
None of it did much good, Rachel said. At the start of the school year at Holman Middle School, she was shunned on the bus. She said she just wanted to sit next to someone. A few days later, someone shoved Rachel away with their foot.
In October and November, students stole her lunch. Then there was the name-calling.
Each time she was bullied, she and her mother told school officials. But what her mother called a “Band-Aid” approach wasn’t doing Rachel any good. It was time to make their grievances public at the board meeting.
That’s not to say the Pattonville School District doesn’t work to counter bullying already, district spokeswoman Mickey Schoonover said. The Where Everybody Belongs group helps children transition to middle school. The Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports program teaches appropriate behavior, Schoonover added.
Still, about a dozen parents and students attended the meeting to show solidarity with the McCormicks. They acknowledged the district’s efforts, but urged more.
And then, yadda yadda.
Why were Rachel’s bullies never punished? Why did the school officials respond with useless band-aids and more useless band-aids?
C’mon now. You know which blog you’re reading. One written by someone who can use Great Schools, and find out that Holman Middle is 53% white and 38% black.
The Pattonville district and many other districts that are similarly positioned are caught in between a rock and a hard place. The rock is trying to cut down on bullying, violence, severe misbehavior. The hard place is #BlackLivesMatter and school to prison pipeline paranoia, trying to reduce suspensions of black students to keep the Department of Justice and the disparate impact bean counters happy. We already know that colleges and universities have found a way to extricate them from a similar Catch-22, getting themselves out from between the rock of high SAT scores and the hard place of NAM diversity, of its admitted classes. So there has to be some way for public K-12 school districts with significant NAM student percentages to solve this problem.
For me, solving this problem means getting a money tree.