Parents voice bullying worries at city school

Several concerned parents and relatives addressed the Dunkirk Board of Education this month about bullying of their children at the junior-senior high school.

One grandmother stated, “I want to address the horrible bullying issue in our schools, they’re terrible. My grandson has been bullied to the point he’s been shoved into heaters. He’s had his Chromebook taken from him, his phone taken from him, (by) these kids, then asked by the teacher why he’s touching these other students. …He just doesn’t even try to get (his devices back) no more. Instead of the teacher asking, ‘Why do you have his phone, what is going on here,’ and questioning these students, it’s just whatever.”

She continued, “It’s to the point that… they’re stripping this child of his self-esteem. He doesn’t know where to go, he doesn’t know what to do, he doesn’t want to be singled out anymore, he doesn’t want to be called names. He cries. He’s 12. He’s hormonal. It’s horrible. He’ll just go get another Chromebook and restart everything he was doing… There has to be more severe consequences.”

The woman concluded, “He finally, finally spoke up, thank God, before he was ruined. We need to do something and there’s other parents, too, who feel the same way.”

Another parent then stated, “A lot of times, some of these kids are scared to speak up, because they don’t want to fend for themselves because they called names after… things get brought up to (school administrators’) attention.”

She added, “My kids have come home sometimes saying some stuff, and I’m like, ‘OK, well, how come you didn’t fend for yourself.’ ‘Well, then my teacher said she would take this away from me if I fended for myself.’… That’s just not fair, it’s not ok and these kids can only take up to so much as well.”

A third parent then chimed in. “I have a ninth-grade student. The seventh- and eighth-grade students are getting picked on more than my ninth grade student, he’s bigger now, so they’re leaving him alone. The seventh and eighth grade students that are getting picked on, they’re cornering them in the bathroom and taking videos of what they’re doing to them and spreading them around.”

She said “The teachers are doing great in other areas, but the bullying, it’s got to get picked up better. The catching (of) the smoking, the (vapes), stuff like that, is a bigger concern right now than the kids that are getting cornered in the bathrooms, that are getting beat up and the videos are getting taken.”

Board President Kenneth Kozlowski offered to speak with the three women privately after the meeting.

He later said that three board members would meet with parents and administrators about the bullying issue for an hour before the board’s next official workshop. It’s set for 4 p.m. Wednesday. All parents and administrators, not just those of junior-senior high school students, are invited.

Board members Claudia Szcerbacki, Betsy Ramos and Stephen Helwig volunteered to attend. Only three members can attend because if four attend, there is a quorum, and by state law it becomes an official meeting of the board.


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