FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Parents in Fort Collins are calling on the Poudre School District to strengthen its bullying policy.
“I want the school to say, you know what? This is wrong,” Joy Pittman said.
Pittman said she has had children in PSD schools since 2000. She said she has noticed a difference between the way conflict was handled with her older children and how it is handled today.
“I don’t remember the bullying that seems to go on now, and if there was something that happened, it seems like it was addressed right away and nipped in the bud and it was over,” she said. “Now it seems like the school just is like, ‘Oh, we’re sorry that happened to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.’”
Bullying raises concerns for parent
She has a daughter who is currently a freshman at Rocky Mountain High School and said she is a victim of bullying.
“My daughter was physically assaulted in junior high and was shoved into lockers, she’s had her life threatened several times, multiple people are gonna beat her up. They’re gonna meet her after school, they’re gonna follow her home,” Pittman said.
According to Pittman, she attempted to address the issue with school staff, the district superintendent and the school board but was not satisfied with their efforts or responses.
“They don’t do anything. They say, ‘Well, we talked to the kids and they’re fine, they worked it out,’ and then the next day something else happens,” she said.
Poudre School District speaks on bullying policy
A PSD spokesperson said bullying incidents are taken very seriously.
According to a district-wide bullying prevention policy, bullying is prohibited at Poudre School District. The district has published multiple documents outlining what happens when an incident is reported, including separating students, conferences with parents and suspension or expulsion.
Still, Pittman said she believes the current policies are not working to keep her daughter safe.
“We’ll pick her up from school and she’s crying. And she’s holding it together and as soon as she gets in the car she just breaks down crying,” Pittman said. “I said, ‘How are you getting to classes and stuff?’ And she goes, ‘Well, I just hide, like around the corner, until I know that (the bully has) gone in the classroom and then I go to my class.’”
Bullying could stretch across the district
Pittman said she believes the issues go beyond Rocky Mountain High School and that many families across the district are dealing with similar issues.
“There was another mom who was going to talk with me today, and she didn’t come because she was afraid. She’s afraid of the repercussions for her daughter if she says anything,” Pittman said. “They made the victim sign a non-disclosure agreement saying that if she talked about it, then she’d be suspended.”
Pittman claims she and her daughter were told they could not talk to anyone about their bullying situation either.
“They told me not to talk about it with anyone, not to post anything on social media. They told my daughter she was not allowed to talk about it with anyone,” Pittman said.
According to a spokesperson for Poudre School District, “non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are NOT part of the district’s response to student conduct. We follow district policies and the Student Code of Conduct.”
The district said in some cases, however, students involved in bullying issues may be asked to limit their contact with one another, including on social media.