Parents address Clermont Northeastern School District about increase in bullying

BATAVIA, Ohio - Board members in the Clermont Northeastern School District are expected to meet with a group of parents and children at a meeting Monday to try and stop what parents call an escalating case of cyber bullying.

The Clermont Northeastern Schools Superintendent Ralph Shell says the board has acknowledged the issue and hopes to put an end to it. On Monday, Shell says he is going to have to ban cellphones at the middle school after a female student was reportedly bullied by a group other female classmates. Shell did not give a timeline for when a cellphone ban would be implemented.

"This has got to stop," Shell said. "I hate that a group of girls has ruined privileges for everyone."

The CNE Middle School principal met with a group of half a dozen families involved in recent incidents among eighth grade students, but the board of education is still expecting parents to show up to Monday's board meeting.

"I'd like to see the bullying not just on Facebook but here at school stop," said Melissa Hoskins, who said her daughter, Brooke Watson is being physically, verbally and cyber bullied by a group of eighth grade girls at the school. "It's not just my child. This is an ongoing issue that's been going on at the school for a couple of months. The same girl that started this Facebook bullying is the same girl that punched my daughter in the face two months ago."

Shell said he is being forced to put his foot down because parents are not able to monitor their children's Facebook accounts because they make new ones without their parents' knowledge. Parents in the district are fed up too and rallying to call for harsher punishments against bullying and more attention from the school district.

Watson is an eighth grade cheerleader on the honor roll and says she has been a recent victim of vicious attacks on Facebook and in class.

"I like to stay by a wall or something so that nobody comes up behind me so I can see. Whenever somebody moves behind me, I have to look just to make sure," Watson said.

Hoskins says she wants parents to understand bullying and its risks.

"My goal is to get as many parents involved as possible because it's not just an issue with my family. It's an issue with every family that has a child here," Hoskins said. "As a parent, our job is to protect our children while they are with us. While our children are at the school, it's the school's responsibility to protect our children and that's what we want to make sure as a community we are all working together to protect our children."

The school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the middle school cafeteria.

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