There is a misconception within the Newberg public school system that bullying only targets marginalized students. So much so, that the groups advocating for marginalized students are going out of their way to create a prominent perception of elevated bigotry within the school district and community. This deflection from the true root cause of undisciplined bullying within the schools has caused massive division between groups within the community.
It is known that children are naïve and they attend school to gain experience. They learn from one another and a massive amount of qualified adults that have specific training to teach these children how to read, write and spell. All while curating a human to have traits that will outfit them for success as a stable and kind young person that gains skills and attributes that will earn them a qualified career to support them in their future at the end of their learning journey.
It comes as no surprise that schools are breeding grounds for kids with sour attitudes and mean spirits. They are mixed among children that are happy, joyful and hopeful. There are a number of children that also have hidden and known traumas. Unfortunately, at any given school and any given classroom, it’s a mixed bag of which children land where. This mixture of students is not static. It is forever changing and the education and experience of the staff, teachers and adults is expected to be enough to navigate this ever changing dynamic.
The adults that volunteer and work within the schools have influence over students and will help determine what kind of humans these children end up being. The enormous responsibility laid on the shoulders of these adults, teachers and staff can, at times be overwhelming and too much for a person to bear. Teachers can grow weary and lose motivation. Perhaps some staff or teachers are not experienced enough to deal with some of the more difficult situations or massive trauma inflicted students that, even though they don’t do it on purpose, lash out towards other students.
This problem with bullying is so expansive that it is difficult to name one simple reason for the inability to curb the horrific and unjust acts of some of these students. Before I go into some of the stories of bullying, I believe it important to check into what the bullying policy of Newberg School District looks like, from the Code of Professional Conduct for Staff.
This is one of several sections, but I’m inserting this one into this essay as the beginning of what I believe is an outdated policy. It was last revised in 2012, almost 10 years ago. I will continue with my editorial after the language of the policy below:
The following definitions and procedures shall be used for reporting, investigating and resolving complaints of hazing, harassment, intimidation, dating violence, including teen dating violence, menacing or bullying and acts of cyberbullying.
1. “Third parties” include, but are not limited to, coaches, school volunteers, parents, school visitors, service contractors or others engaged in district business, such as employees of businesses or organizations participating in cooperative work programs with the district and others not directly subject to district control at interdistrict and intradistrict athletic competitions or other school events.
2. “District” includes district facilities, district premises and nondistrict property if the student is at any district-sponsored, district-approved or district-related activity or function, such as field trips or athletic events where students are under the control of the district.
3. “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities or performance, that takes place on or immediately adjacent to district grounds, at any district-sponsored activity, on district-provided transportation or at any official district bus stop, that may be based on, but not limited to, the protected class status of a person, having the effect of:
a. Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property;
b. Knowingly placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student
or damage to the student’s property;
c. Creating a hostile educational environment including interfering with the
psychological well being of the student.
4. “Menacing” includes, but is not limited to, any act intended to place a school employee, student or third party in fear of imminent physical injury.
5. “Dating violence” means a pattern of behavior in which a person uses or threatens to use physical, mental or emotional abuse to control another person who is in a dating relationship with the person, or behavior by which a person uses or threatens to use sexual violence with the person.
6. “Teen dating violence” means a pattern of behavior in which a person uses or threatens to use physical, mental or emotional abuse to control another person who is in a dating relationship with the person, where one or both persons are 13 to 19 years of age, or behavior by which a person uses or threatens to use sexual violence with the person, where one or both persons are 13 to 19 years of age.
7. “Hazing” includes, but is not limited to, any act that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health, physical health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation or as a condition or precondition of attaining membership in, or affiliation with, any district-sponsored activity or grade level attainment, e.g., forced consumption of any drink, alcoholic beverage, drug or controlled substance, forced exposure to the elements, forced prolonged exclusion from social contact, sleep deprivation or any other forced activity that could adversely affect the mental or physical health or safety of a student; requires, encourages, authorizes or permits another to be subject to wearing or carrying any obscene or physically burdensome article, assignment of pranks to be performed or other such activities intended to degrade or humiliate.
8. “Protected class” means a group of persons distinguished, or perceived to be distinguished, by race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, martial status, familial status, source of income or disability.
9. “Cyberbullying” is the use of any electronic communication device to convey a message in any form (text, image, audio or video) that defames, intimidates, harasses or is otherwise intended to harm, insult or humiliate another in a deliberate, repeated or hostile and unwanted manner under a person’s true or false identity. In addition, any communication of this form which substantially disrupts or prevents a safe and positive educational or working environment may also be considered cyberbullying. Students shall refrain from using personal communication devices or district property to harass or stalk another.
10. “Retaliation” means hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, bullying and/or acts of cyberbullying toward a person in response to actual or apparent reporting or participating in the investigation of hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, bullying and/or acts of cyberbullying or retaliation.
Retaliation/False Charges Retaliation against any person who reports, is thought to have reported, files a complaint or otherwise participates in an investigation or inquiry is prohibited. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of Board policy, independent of whether a complaint is substantiated. Knowingly or recklessly bringing false charges shall also be regarded as a serious offense and shall result in disciplinary action or other appropriate sanctions.
Reporting Procedures: The superintendent/designee has responsibility for investigations concerning hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, or bullying and acts of cyberbullying. The investigator(s) shall be a neutral party having had no involvement in the complaint presented.
Any student, employee or third party who has knowledge of conduct in violation of this policy or feels he/she has been a victim of hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, bullying or acts of cyberbullying in violation of this policy shall immediately report his/her concerns. Failure of an employee to report an act of hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, bullying or acts of cyberbullying may be subject to remedial action, up to and including dismissal.
All complaints shall be investigated in compliance with district contractual agreements and in accordance with the following procedures:
Step 1 Any hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, bullying or acts of cyberbullying information (complaints, rumors, etc.) shall be presented to the superintendent/designee. Complaints against the principal shall be filed with the superintendent/designee. Complaints against the superintendent shall be made to the Board Chair. All such information shall be reduced to writing and shall include the specific nature of the offense and corresponding dates.
Step 2 The superintendent/designee receiving the complaint shall promptly investigate. Parents shall be notified of the nature of any complaint involving their student. The superintendent/ designee shall arrange such meetings as may be necessary with concerned parties. The parties shall have an opportunity to respond to the complaint. Findings related to the complaint shall be submitted to the superintendent/designee. The superintendent/designee conducting the investigation shall notify the complainant and parents as appropriate, when the investigation is concluded and a decision regarding disciplinary action, as warranted, is determined.
Step 3 If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision at Step 2, he/she may submit a written appeal to the superintendent/designee. Such appeal must be filed within ten (10) working days after the receipt of the Step 2 decision.
Step 4 If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision at Step 3, a written appeal may be filed with the Board. Such appeal must be filed within ten (10) working days after receipt of the Step 3 decision.
Direct complaints related to educational programs and services may be made to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
Consequences Violations of this policy or administrative regulations shall result in the implementation of the following range of consequences:
1. Verbal warning;
2. Written warning requiring a reply from student’s parent or guardian;
3. In-school or out-of-school suspension;
4. Expulsion for serious or continuing infractions;
Hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, bullying or acts of cyberbullying regarding disabilities, race, national origin, color or sexual orientation may result in the maximum consequences (suspension or expulsion) being applied immediately.
Repeat student offenders shall be subject to a mandatory meeting with a counselor.
Documentation related to the incident may be maintained as part of the student’s education records. Additionally, a copy of all hazing, harassment, intimidation, menacing, dating violence, including teen dating violence, including teen dating violence or bullying and acts of cyberbullying complaints and documentation will be maintained as a confidential file.“
I think after reading this policy it is appropriate to now read statements from Newberg parents which were published to the local community groups. The following are some testimonies:
My step-daughter has since 6th grade complained about cvms [Chehalem Valley Middle School] and not liking it there. She’s in 8th now, same waterworks, same fight trying to get her to attend. My question is, if you have a student or students at cvms, do you get complaints from your kids about it being weird, or them not liking it there?1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions John Smith
…this is what cv is ultimately doing to us now instead of trying to help us find the root cause. We’re being threatened now with court and fines. …I’ve been concerned about that because she is 13.. Maybe she did something or didn’t do something and it went wrong. Who knows really.. We’ve been trying and trying and have gotten nowhere. Actually this was my initial thoughts due to the level of crying when the words come out time to go to school. I don’t think anything else would be worthy of such tears unless there’s an undiagnosed personality disorder. Unfortunately, we’re left to guess. But, on the other hand, I’ve had 2 other kids have negative experiences at cv, so I’m left to being confused … I agree home life is key in addition to all the other factors. We’ve asked the school to help with an iep for example, and that need has been ignored many times … I’ve got an email to [Chehalem Valley Middle School Principal] Petrie stating our needs are not being met at cv and will be submitting a transfer form.
“My son went there for one year, and absolutely hated it. He was bullied and nothing was being done. He would make himself throw up, had horrible anxiety, it was NOT a good place. Having this pandemic, I enrolled him into the online academy, and I don’t have to worry about the issues at CVMS[Chehalem Valley Middle School]…1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Brittany Reubendale
… it was horrible. I asked for him to be switched to a different class away from the bully and they refused. Then they wondered why he wasn’t doing well…well when he’s worried about the bully in the classroom how was he expected to focus? … the counselor refused to believe that the issue was at school, and assumed it was the home environment. …my kid was made fun of because his dad isn’t around. Told that he must be a shitty kid, because obviously his dad doesn’t love him. And that’s why his dad left. Then the taunts of his dad was a killer (obviously not true) and was going to come kill him (my son) because he’s such a bad kid. … It’s not all students. But the few bad seeds are ruining it for so many! And because the teachers/school staff do nothing they get away with it. And im sure there is a lack of discipline at home so that doesn’t help the situation. But if/when students complain about being bullied then something needs to happen quickly. When nothing happens it’s letting these bullies think the behavior is ok. It’s really sad and frustrating to watch this happen. The school district is protecting these bullies. …we tried to make do, had him in counseling. Then Covid hit. And then online school. One option was COA [Chehalem Online Academy], and that’s what he has done since then. Wouldn’t trade his peace of mind for anything.
I can vouch that my daughter hated it.
She went to 100% online for the rest of middle school and freshman year of high school.
She is now in Catalyst for her sophomore year and liking it much better.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Nick Morrell
Years ago we moved our straight A, outgoing and happy son from Open Bible to Dundee Elementary, because it was closer to home and less expensive. He lasted only half a year there. He became depressed and fearful. He would not talk to us about anything. Isolated. His grades plummeted. One day I took him to visit at CS Lewis for a couple hours. As we were leaving, he burst into tears, grabbed me in a hug and begged that he not have to go back to Dundee. He did not even want the belongings from his desk. So I went and picked up his stuff and he never went back. He never would talk about it. He just got happy again. Glad we listened to him.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Sue Ellen
I have a 6th grade boy at CVMS [Chehalem Valley Middle School] and though he’s not jumping for joy to go to school each day he says overall it’s fine and he’s doing well academically. But then we have conversations where he says boys at the school are bullied by other boys and he’s told his sister that she’s lucky she’s a girl because she’ll get left alone. By ‘bullying’ I mean being called names, sworn at (including ‘N’ by a white child and my child is also white), little sh*t, kids taking his hat, messing with his things, etc. It is very concerning that these types of things have gone on for years do not appear to be addressed. … I’m hearing that many of the cuss words are being yelled, it’s hard to believe that no teacher or school employee can hear them and address it. As for me, we are trying the best we can to instill kindness, common sense, respect and decency in our children. I wish you the best of luck with your daughter. Being a kid is hard and it doesn’t need to be made more difficult by the educational institutions. …I know there are good kids and that the bad ones (or the ones behaving badly) are not the majority, but it just really seems like the schools do not have a handle on responding to it. Then there’s the challenge of kids not being the ‘tattle tale’. Zero to little consequences are going to make zero to little change. I’m all for if my kid does something wrong at school, there needs to be punishment at school (plus there will also be punishment at my house).1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Amanda Edwards
My daughters best friend moved to newberg and lasted 6 weeks at CVMS [Chehalem Valley Middle School] before being pulled and enrolling in a charter school. She was being bullied, ketchup thrown on her, didn’t make friends, kids calling each other homophobic slurs. She said that the cafeteria often ran out of food too. She went from crying every morning and throwing up from anxiety to looking forward to going to school …a lot of families are not able to volunteer because of the need to work. You go to Lake Oswego or West Linn and you are awash with mom’s in yoga pants hanging out with free time. Not often the case with socio-economically mixed communities. Also, Covid has made it so that additional people are not allowed in the classroom or schools. Trust me, I’ve tried.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Jessica Sampson
Our 6th grade daughter lasted only 5 months at CVMS [Chehalem Valley Middle School] this year and we had to pull her. It was a scary environment and we were no longer going to allow it. We also pulled our daughter that’s a Jr. It’s so scary what they think they can tell our kids.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Angie Rice
My youngest had a terrible time there. Bullied unmercifully and no one did a thing.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Maren Davis
Both my kids had a hard time with this school system. Both went to alternative instead1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Kara Katz-Works
My daughter disliked cv [Chehalem Valley Middle School] and mv [Mountain View Middle School]. Then H.S. [Newberg High School] my son and daughter both attended NHS HATED it. I transferred both to Catalyst [High School] and both loved it there! They both graduated from Catalyst! …Kids would say that **** and **** are not brother and sister because **** was lighter then ****. They would tell **** that he is not black and that ****** was not his dad. They called **** a n***** …No one ever stood up for **** or **** until they went to Catalyst. …I would complain and nothing was ever done about it. …I went in person many times.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Julie Johnson
My kid had problems at mv [Mountain View Middle School] too. We have been researching options because the kid has completely shut down and refuses to do work for school. We have tried positive reinforcement, when that didn’t work we tried reasoning, we are on negative reinforcement at this point and the kid won’t budge. Just will stare at walls then1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Matthew Stidmen
Both of my kids had terrible experiences at CVMS [Chehalem Valley Middle School]. My son went all the way through (with the exception of 1 quarter of COA [Chehalem Online Academy] in 7th grade). He hated every minute of it. We transferred him to a private school when we realized that NHS [Newberg High School] wasn’t going to be any better. He is a totally different kid since getting out of NPS [Newberg Public Schools]. He loves school, has good influences all around him and is super involved in school (unlike in NPS where he couldn’t wait to leave every day).
My daughter did COA in 6th because of Covid shut downs and then went to CVMS from Sept until November of this year. She came home stressed and in tears many days. The environment is AWFUL there. There is absolutely no control of the students. The amount of cussing, horrible sexual talk and awful behaviors is unbelievable. The teachers (and principal) don’t worry about any of that though. They are far too busy decorating their classrooms in flags and displaying their political ideologies to worry about the culture and environment that they should be in control of.
After 2 months of watching my motivated, outgoing daughter come home feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unmotivated and in tears every day, I had enough and transferred her to a private school. Just like that, ALL those issues disappeared. I have my happy, confident child back and since her teachers are actually focused on education, she is back to learning. Something is DRASTICALLY wrong at that [Chehalem Valley Middle] school. It isn’t a safe place for students and if all these stories aren’t enough, look at their academic grading report – it’s nothing short of horrific. When my daughter informed one of her teachers that it would be her last day, the teacher looked her square in the eye and said “I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t send my kids here either.” Yup, it’s THAT bad. …I also want to point out that this is squarely a CVMS failure.
My kids both went to Crater [Elementary School] from K-5 and had wonderful experiences. The teachers and staff were incredible, the environment/culture was great and students were under control. Moving from Crater to CVMS really opens your eyes to how terrible CVMS is. How can schools be a couple hundred feet apart and be so drastically different? It comes down to leadership (or lack of it!). …If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to get your kid out NOW. Don’t wait. It’s not going to get better. It has been a mess for at least the last 5 years and I have only seen it get exponentially worse in that time. Switch her to a different district or a private school and let her have the chance to form friendships before she starts high school next year. No child should have to spend 3 years of their lives miserable and in tears.
My only regret is ever letting either one of my kids step foot in that school. The semester will be over shortly (I think mid February) so it’s a great time to get out!1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Jessica Mitchell Klus
It’s been about nine years, but the high school had four separate schools. My daughter was bullied severely and we requested to transfer to the blue, green or yellow schools. We were denied and basically told to suck it up.
Apparently some of the schools were more desirable than others, so they could upset the balance by transferring one single student. My daughter had always been an honor student, and ended up graduating in the alternate school, with a very easy curriculum.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Dan Griffin
My daughter was bullied in MVMS [Mountain View Middle School] 2016-19, pretty mercilessly. We reported it regularly, had conversations with staff and administrators. It even became physical with intentional tripping, shoving and clotheslines in the hallways and during PE especially. My husband went so far as to give our daughter permission to hit the boy back. She never did but her grades slid, self-esteem was destroyed and the final 2 months of 8th grade she missed 22 days of school. It was then that she told me, “Mom, I will NOT go to Newberg High! It’s the same there and I won’t do this anymore.”
We ended up putting her in another district. She is a strong student, her confidence is back and she feels supported by her teachers. Best decision for us. …I filed a complaint in writing to the Principal. The young man was suspended for 2 days and my daughter was instructed to avoid the boy but we were denied request to switch her classroom due to it causing too much upheaval to the class dynamic. I honesty don’t remember a “complaint policy” but did everything as close to what we believed to be proper protocol.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Destiny Johnston
My son was bullied at the school for wearing blue glitter shoes. Multiple kids made fun of him for wearing “girls shoes” and one kid hit him and then tried to rip them off his feet. These quickly went from being his favorite shoes to only wearing them when he was with me.
I had brought this up in a public forum when other local parents were upset about the school curriculum teaching the kids to be accepting of other kids being different. They didn’t like the part about boys wearing dresses sometimes and said the kids were already accepting of differences and didn’t need this teaching. When I brought it up as an example of how the kids were not accepting I was told that it was a parenting problem then and should still be left out.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Anonymous parent
My daughter was bullied on a sports team at NHS [Newberg High School], we went thru all the right channels, documented everything, even spoke to coaches, the school brd [board], sent emails, letters, nothing happened. However there was never any flags or banners, stickers on classroom doors or cars saying “it’s safe, come here” instead she found friends and wonderful teachers with no symbols visible to support her, love her and ACCEPT HER. She ended up walking off the team, gave up her varsity letter.. She graduated with superb grades and now has 2 college degrees, superb job n is even coaches many teams all over PDX for the sport in hs [high school] that hated her so much. Kids don’t need safe places in school to feel loved and accepted, it begins with counselors that should be doing their job but then those special teachers that go beyond the classroom and the place of the sport.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Linda WashburnDeLong
My daughter was bullied in kindergarten by another kindergarten student at Edwards [Elementary School]. He pushed her down on the concrete hard enough to scrape both her elbows and give her a black eye because she landed face first. She was afraid to tell the teacher. This other student tried to push her down the steps of the tall spiral slide on the playground. I had to tell my neighbor who was a volunteer because no one else was doing anything on the playground about it. And when my child got injured the first time, the school never called me. They reason they didn’t do anything to the other student, his mom was a teacher at that school….1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Stephanie Barker
I was bullied pretty bad in middle school by multiple people. I went to MVMS [Mountain View Middle School}. At one point, I was physically punched in the arm “as a joke” to them more than once. That’s when my dad went to the school himself and talked to the principal about it. My dad was livid and chewed out the principal. I can’t remember who the principal was at the time but they did not do anything to rectify the situation except for giving my dad an apology, so the bullying continued.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Mykaela Beattie
My son is bullied and he is in the 5th grade and he is being turned into the bad guy because his anxiety and anger for what they are saying and doing to him get the best of him and I feel like I am in a losing battle with the situation and what’s worse this kid was on his soccer team and that where it started kids today are so cruel.1/13/2022 Newberg Community Discussions Kathryn Mayer
I have found One of the schools to not take student threats serious.
My son made a comment to a girl that she looked like a unicorn ( she wore a tutu and a unicorn horn on her head to class).
She turned around grabbed her pencil and threatened to kill my son. She said she didn’t have 4th period and she was going to wait for him and kill him.
It wasn’t the “I’m gonna kill you” saying, she was angry and plotting to hurt him.
The principle called me and verified it happened but because she had other issues he was not going to punish her. I honestly do not know what those issues are the principal would not share.
I found out later she had threatened to kill 3 other kids at the school at different times.
A parent called me very upset because the girl also threatened her son and the school did nothing. We both put in a complaint, nothing was done.
If my son would of threatened her, he would of been suspended. Not only that, someone plotting to kill my son, and others is scary.
My heart goes out to whatever her issues are but murder threats should not be swept under the rug.1/14/2022 Yamhill County News and Discussion Group Jessica Harrington
If I wasn’t outright ignored by kids because of rumors spread that I was a freak, or that I was a witch….a witch?! Shoot, I wish I was kinda lol but, with no friends, I tried to keep to myself but at least once a week I would hear something about my clothes(I was a farm girl who wore hoodies to hide), or about my size(I got chunky in middle school cause of depression), I even tried a name change that people(peers) laughed at me and ridiculed for. And honestly when I told teachers they would just move us away but not change classes, no parents were called, no meetings or anything, or if I snapped at the kid in class I got sent to the office and in trouble. The thing I posted about the dance. I remembered it because out of my 3yrs there, that was the only event I was permitted to go to because “I was good enough”. But the dance was canceled due to two young girls doing methamphetamine in the bathroom. I was crushed, I stopped trying so hard and I became quiet, angry, depressive, suicidal for a short time, and their reaction to this was I needed to be held back, or put in a “b.i.p.”(behavioral intervention program) in the beginning, my support was limited due to issues at home.
When I told my guardians, they told me to buck up. They never took action. I even [pleaded] to change to mountain view middle school. But i lived in the country side and was too far. I was alone. But I was determined to make it away from there. I didn’t even know how bad the kids talked bad about me till freshman year. 2 of my biggest bullies tried to get to me again, literally day 1 freshman orientation. Bu I changed that summer. I was mean, I was cold, I was no longer quiet, I was tired of the disrespect and abuse snapped with a witty comment that made the whole class go ooooohh! And they were embarrassed, publicly, and that right their was their defeat and my rise to standing up for myself.
My time at Chehalem Valley Middle School was hard. I don’t remember my classes/lessons. I don’t have many good or even ok memories there. But I am actually grateful for teaching me early how to survive hard reality at a young age, my quiet years I learned body communication, self taught psychology from just watching and learning. Learning that help me find my own triggers, helped me find way to prevent or treat them, and help me ‘read’ others so I knew if I wanted to talk to them. I’m sorry I seemed to have started to stray from the main goal here. I just wanted you to have a better understanding of the situation. I was, by no means, a bad kid. I was not ‘slow’. I didn’t have behavioral issues. I was a student left behind. But the B.I.P. was enough for them to say I wasn’t. Newberg school system is a joke…in my opinion1/14/2022 Krystael Henry
My child was bullied by a teacher. She may not have realized that her actions were hurting children, but the trauma it caused was quite significant. The bullying then continued to my youngest child and unfortunately because the older child completely shut down and glazed over, I had no idea it was the same teacher causing the trauma. Two years later, when the older child could finally speak about the trauma, he said there was not a day that went by that the teacher didn’t make a child cry. This is verifiable by the youngest, who had come home one day in tears because the teacher had yelled at the students. My youngest is extremely sensitive and kind. I called the counselor to let them know my youngest needed some comforting due to this incident. The counselor didn’t tell the teacher or the principal, so it continued. I ended up informing the teacher and she apologized, but how many other children were traumatized by this? How many left the school and wouldn’t come back? My oldest has Asperger’s and the experience from having a child with that type of need was traumatizing even to me as an adult. He was bullied by other students and he sometimes was the bully as he didn’t understand social cues. I am not a fan of mainstreaming children and it is partly because children with special needs can be a major disruptor to classrooms and can cause dissention with other students. I do not expect teachers to have to manage that level of need. But yet, they are expected to without the proper tools to do so. My oldest had an OT evaluation done at the end of 4th year with the expectation the recommendations would be implemented at the beginning of the 5th year. 5th grade began and there were no accommodations. The year started out ROUGH and continued that way until I called the OT and asked why the accommodations were never put into place? She said she had given them to the SpEd [Special Education] teacher and the regular teacher and the principal. When I called them to inform them… the SpEd teacher said “sorry, I was busy”. 5 weeks of hell had ensued because he didn’t have proper accommodations. These were huge as he needed a large space blocked out so other kids couldn’t enter his space. It set the tone for the rest of his education. Our district office didn’t take complaints and the principal did seem to try, but the SpEd kids are not taken care of the way they should be. The system is terrible.1/15/2022 Becky Wallis
This is a small sampling over a two-day period from only folks on two social media groups. It is clear that bullying is happening in Newberg school district. There are some things to point out. Most parents are not aware there is a formal complaint procedure. Staff, teachers and principals are not taking the bullying seriously. That’s right, I said that. The policy is clear and is not being handled with the clarity it outlines. The bullying is being touted as a problem that only marginalized students are facing. However, it is apparent as evidenced above, that the bullying is across multiple identifiable categories.
Due to this lack of attention and lack of severity of discipline, the students are not held accountable to a level that will prevent them from wanting to continue the bullying. Set some examples. Develop some outreach campaigns that discourage others from being a bully. Promote kindness! There should not have to be a special group created or special classroom set aside for children to visit to feel safe and included. Why are we having to create safe spaces? Every space should feel safe! If it does not; then why? What could the school system be doing differently to make every child feel welcome and wanted vs. only create spaces for what are considered marginalized students?
When are we going to be able to put aside the labels? When are we going to be able to fight for the students as a whole? Can we all agree that the bullying in the schools is not being handled properly? Why is it so rampant? If there seems to be a “we can’t do anything about it” mentality, then why not update the outdated policies? The one included in this editorial was last updated in 2012. The school district is failing the children. The staff are failing the children. Placing blame on sections of the community to detract away from the root of the problem does nothing to provide a solution for what is clearly a systemic failure of the school district to get the bullying under control.
Hire a superintendent that will look at the school objectively and come up with solutions that will work towards ending the bullying that students across all demographics and categories are facing, not just the students that are identified as marginalized. Because as much as those that like to talk about inclusion don’t want to recognize it, bullying happens to all children. It’s our responsibility as adults to protect all of them.
*Note from Becky Wallis: I did not spell correct the policy nor the statements of parents pulled from Facebook. They were copied exact.
Editor’s Note: I made some bracketed insertions to assist readers with understanding the abbreviations in contributed statements – Carey Martell