Bullying taken seriously in middle schools

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2001

Earlier this month, an 11-year-old Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School student was assaulted by another student. Police were summoned and issued a verbal warning to both parties.

Assault is rare at the middle school level, said assistant principal Barb Mecum.

"Swift action and serious consequences speak for themselves," she said, but wouldn't say what action the school took about the assault.

"We take any kind of bullying, harassment or assault very seriously," Mecum said. "We have a handbook that spells out the discipline process, and we have a discipline grid that spells out what steps will be taken."

School officials investigate, choose appropriate consequences, and finally deliver those consequences in the presence of parents.

Dzantik'i Heeni offers mediation for kids in conflict, Mecum said, but she had no comment about whether the administration knew prior to the incident that there was a conflict between these two students.

This week, Dzantik'i Heeni students were involved in a gun-related incident. Parents who did not wish to be identified said four seventh-graders threatened another DZ student with BB guns. The students said they would shoot him early Wednesday at school, according to parents.

Mecum confirmed that an incident involving BB guns took place - but not on school grounds.

"It happened off campus in a nearby residential area," she said Thursday. She spoke to the students involved.

"I don't want to give you any more information on individual kids, but I was highly concerned by the report," Mecum said. "No comment whether anyone had been threatened."

She also declined comment on whether any student was suspended.

Later Wednesday, the same boys allegedly shot at the bedroom window of the student allegedly threatened. BB shot was found at the site, a parent reported. Police Capt. Tom Porter confirmed this morning that the window incident occurred and "investigation is on-going."



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