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Middle school student repeatedly called a terrorist, NEO parents demand better bullying policies

Posted at 12:03 AM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-02 10:27:34-04

Some Northeast Ohio parents believe more still needs to be done by local school districts when it comes to dealing with bullying.

A woman by the name of "Helen" contacted News 5 about a bullying case involving her son.

News 5 will not reveal her last name for fear of reprisal against her family. 

Her son is in the 8th-grade at Middleburg Heights Middle School.

Helen, who immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon, said her son was repeatedly called a "terrorist," and mocked in class, and in the hallways at school over a seven month period. 

"One student said 'hey terrorist come over here and help me pick up my book,'" said Helen.

"In another case, another student told my son, you smell, your country smells and you better go back to your country."

The Berea School City School District said it responded immediately, interviewing multiple students.

The district issued the following statement:

"The Berea City School District does not tolerate any form of bullying. When concerns are brought to the attention of our staff, they are taken seriously and a complete investigation is conducted.

If it is determined that bullying has occurred, appropriate action is taken.

Berea City School District has implemented numerous Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports
programs and training."

But Helen said the district did not issue any punishment, and she believes more can be done.

"So you're going to keep these kids unpunished, they're going to do worse," said Helen.

Julie Davis agrees more can be done when it comes to bullying policies.

Davis said her 5-year-old son was attacked on an Elyria school bus by a 5th-grade student.

Davis said she reported the incident, but said the Elyria School District decided to keep both students separated while on the same bus.

"So now my kid has to live in fear for the next seven weeks going back and forth to school," said Davis.

"It's uncalled for, and there's no reason for a child two times my son's size to do anything to my child."

The Elyria School District said it took quick action and interviewed both students.

The district believes it made the right disciplinary decision in allowing both students to stay on the same bus.

Denise Blatt, Director of Pupil Services, told News 5 the district implements a four-step process when investigating reported cases of bullying.

The district has bullying report forms available to students in all school buildings, and uses a protocol checklist that must be followed by all administrators.

Blatt said the comprehensive platform gives the district a wide variety of responses when addressing bullying.

"We could utilize some peer mediation, it might involve a change in schedule, said Blatt.

 "It might involve referral to an outside agency if there are more intense red flags."

"We take bullying very seriously."

Elyria Schools told News 5 it will further look into the case involving Davis's son.

Both Elyria and Berea schools use Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports platforms to try to teach students good behaviors before bullying starts.

Meanwhile, Helen told News 5 it's also up to parents to give children the right messages at home.

"Apparently these parents are doing something wrong for these kids to go to school and say all these comments, that are that is full of rage and hatred," said Helen.

"More must be done."