Is bullying “out of control” at Carbondale Area High School? That’s what one parent told the Carbondale Area School Board in March. Now, a second parent has stepped forward to say the problem remains a serious one.
Both parents have complained that the district hasn’t done enough to address the issue (the names of the two women are being withheld by the NEWS, to protect their children). The first parent told the board in March that her biracial daughter was called a racial epithet when she was in the 8th grade and told to “go back to Mexico across the border where you belong.”
The parent stated that the incident was reported to high school principal Joseph Farrell, who handled it satisfactorily, but she said she continues hearing stories from parents as well as their kids about students from mixed marriages being subjected to racism and harassment at the school. “The whole biracial thing is out of control,” she offered. “Something has to be done because that stuff went out with the 1950s!” Farrell told the board that appropriate disciplinary action was taken in regard to the incident involving this woman’s daughter, and the woman confirmed that. He said the same is true in all such cases which are reported, insisting that they are handled “very, very aggressively.”
However, at a meeting on Wednesday night, May 16, a second parent addressed the board members and told them that the problem persists. She stated that even though school officials knew that some girls were planning to attack her daughter, not enough was done to protect her. Consequently, she related, those girls ended up “jumping” her daughter after school with the intent of “putting her in the hospital or possibly killing her.” Superintendent Dr. Dominick Famularo responded that the district has an anti-bullying policy in place, and he said it is fully enforced whenever an incident is reported. However, the parent disputed that assertion. “You claim to have a zero-tolerance policy, but it’s not zero tolerance,” she argued, “it’s a ‘Let’s close our eyes to it’ policy.”
She asked to meet with the board members and district officials to discuss the matter in detail, urging them: “I am pleading with you!” The board called an executive session and met privately with the woman, although no action was taken by the board afterward. Famularo stated that when any student comes home from school and tells his parents about a bullying problem that he or she is experiencing, the parents should take immediate action. “Call the school the next day,” he urged the parents, adding that if the matter isn’t quickly and fully resolved by school administrators, the parents should then call him personally at the district’s administrative office to report the problem.
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