ELLSWORTH – Two local parents say their children were bullied at the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School and they say the administration has done little to address the problem.
“She got called the N-word and the school didn’t call me,” said Rachel Hicks.
Her sixth grader reported the incident, and school officials told her “not to tell anyone.”
Then the middle school student, “was told she gets her nasty hair from her ugly N-word daddy,” Hicks said Tuesday.
Her daughter, again, reported the incident.
“She said she didn’t feel listened to,” Hicks said. “Like she was made to feel like it wasn’t important and she wasn’t allowed to be upset about it. She was sent all the wrong messages.”
“Then they never followed up with her,” she added later. “They never asked her if she was OK.”
Things intensified this school year, her mother said.
“In November, she came to me and said, ‘It’s not just one girl anymore. It’s a whole group and I can’t stand up to them by myself anymore,’” Hicks recalled.
The situation got so bad her daughter wrote a suicide note and left it on the desk of her alleged bully. Shortly after that, Hicks began homeschooling her child.
“There is absolutely no need for it,” Hicks said. “And not addressing it is going to cause this community to have to lose another child to suicide.”
Gwen Clark says her granddaughter also made bullying reports to school officials.
“There is something wrong when adults tell kids not to tell,” Clark said.
She said after her granddaughter was chastised for making reports by both adults at the school and the alleged bullies, “she just stopped telling.”
The two parents spoke before the Ellsworth School Board meeting last week.
“It’s not just our girls,” Hicks said. “We’ve heard from so many parents in the school. They have reported bullying and it has gone ignored.”
Superintendent Dan Higgins said school officials investigate every incident of bullying.
“I think bullying exists in our schools, but I also think we have policies and procedures in place in place to help us respond to it,” he said Tuesday, seated in his office.
In the last year, bullying has been reported in Ellsworth.
“We’ve received numerous reports,” Higgins said. “I can’t give you a number right now.”
The mothers told WVII/WFVX that they addressed the school board because they were afraid that their concerns were being swept underneath the rug.