When is it bullying?

Written by Kelly Ducote and Dick Mason, The Observer April 22, 2014 07:50 am

Nichole Kast and her son Kyler White leave La Grande Middle School. Kast has concerns that the school is not doing enough to address bullying. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Nichole Kast and her son Kyler White leave La Grande Middle School. Kast has concerns that the school is not doing enough to address bullying. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
 

Nichole Kast knows her son has had a rough day when he heads for his punching bag.La Grande middle schooler Kyler White has one in his room, Kast says. “You can hear him,” she says. “He’ll work out his aggression that way.”

Kast said Kyler’s problems extend past aggression, though. Last month, the 13-year-old seventh-grader was hit in the back by a 15-year-old student in what Kast considers an ongoing problem of bullying at LMS.

“Bullying is a huge problem at the middle school,” Kast said. “I think it’s a problem because, in my opinion, the bullies are just getting a slap on the wrist.”

The March incident led Kast to take Kyler to Grande Ronde Hospital, where hospital personnel feared he could have a damaged spleen. A CT scan revealed his spleen was fine, but Kyler took a few days off school to recover from abdominal trauma, contusions and possible cracked ribs, his mom said. 

Kast said the 15-year-old who slugged Kyler was suspended for three days and was ordered to stay away from Kyler for two weeks.

“That doesn’t really constitute a consequence in my opinion,” Kast said.

Concerns from parents

Parents say they know middle school students have drama and are in a transition period, but feel like school administrators can do more to alleviate the issue.

“I felt like I wasn’t being listened to by the middle school at all,” said Heather Moyer, the mom of a sixth-grader at LMS. “My daughter’s been horrifically bullied.”

(For full story see Monday's edition of The Observer)