Archive for First Amendment

Campbell Jr. High Bullying Video

Posted in Bullying, Campbell Jr. High, Dustin Howard, Michael Kuduk, Mike Menchen, School Buses, Schools with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by Joan Graves

bullyingRecently, a video was posted on Facebook showing a brief altercation between two students at Campbell Jr. High School. The video was taken and posted by a student who was tired of seeing a fellow student bullied. The video shows a girl, Trinity, standing next to an unnamed male student. In the background students can be heard encouraging the students to fight. As the frenzy grows Trinity suddenly grabs the boy in a headlock and drags him off.

There are multiple problems in this situation. The trigger point for parents was the lack of Campbell staff. Superintendent Paul Christy stated it was “a small area” in front of a large school. He also stated that a minimum of 10 teachers and 2 administrators are always present during dismissal, when this video was shot. Even with the noise of dismissal I can’t imagine how that many employees could miss the sounds of a brewing fight.

According to Trinity’s mother, April, Trinity is special needs. However, she states the school has labeled Trinity a behavior problem. Trinity does not have an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in place, that all special needs students have.  Because Trinity’s disabilities don’t create a learning deficit, an IEP wasn’t needed. However, based on information provided to me, a 504 would have been appropriate.

A 504 refers to Section 504 of the 1973 Federal Rehabilitation Act. It essentially states that no one with any type of disability may be discriminated against. A 504 in place would have meant the school recognized Trinity as being special needs and certain protections, such as an escort to the bus each day, could have been secured. It is extremely interesting or highly questionable, depending on how you look at it, that Trinity did not have a 504 in place at the time of this incident.

Citing privacy issues Christy couldn’t specifically comment on this issue. He did explain steps he has taken to help curb this type of behavior in the future. High school students will no longer be allowed to exit the bus at Campbell. Buses will be assigned specific parking spaces so they are in the same spot each day, keeping students from wondering through the crowd. The most effective prevention however, has been in place for a year.

Affixed inside the front of every bus are two phone numbers. One to the Clark County Sheriff’s office (745-0290) and the other to Winchester Police (355-7443). A student or parent may call either and provide bullying information anonymously. According, to Christy this is the 2nd year the numbers have been available with only a single phone call going into them. With all the bullying allegations why is no one calling?  I hear repeatedly how the schools don’t do enough to stop bullying. This is your way to bypass them and go directly to law enforcement. Parents instruct your child to report bullying to the school first. But if he/she isn’t comfortable with that, or the school doesn’t respond then call one of the numbers listed above and get it stopped.

Here is where the story takes a turn. Prior to the altercation, April had been informed that the district was filing legal papers to have Trinity removed from Campbell citing she was out of control. The posting of the fight video changed everything. When I met with Christy he was clearly angry over the video being shared online. He had contacted Facebook to have the video removed but Facebook declined, saying it didn’t violate their terms of use. According, to Christy he wanted the video removed because “innocent students” were caught in the middle. I saw and shared the video because students circling around and encouraging others to fight are not innocent. Furthermore, you would be hard pressed to identify anyone by the video alone.

The video was allegedly used as a bargaining chip in a meeting between April, Christy, Campbell Principal Dustin Howard and Assistant Principal Mike Menchen. According to April school officials agreed to remove legal filings forcing Trinity from Campbell Jr. High into the Phoenix Academy, if April would remove the fight video from YouTube. April agreed.

The student alleges that she was “forced” by Christy to remove the video from her Facebook page. By doing so it would remove it from everyone’s page who shared it. The moment I received word of this I sent a text to Christy asking him about it because quite frankly, I didn’t believe it. But when he failed to respond I knew chances were high he did. Why else would he not respond?

I then contacted Board of Education Chair, Dr. Michael Kuduk, who, unlike Christy, will respond to inquiries even if he doesn’t like them. Kuduk was in agreement with Christy that the video should not have been online. However, Kuduk stated that Christy had no authority to “force” this student or any other to remove something from his/her personal Facebook page.

It is a shame that Paul Christy resorted to such excessive lengths to have the video removed. This could have been a post about the positive changes he made regarding bulling but instead we are left to wonder why Christy would invest so much time and energy into trying to get rid of a video everyone has already seen? It begs the question, what is he getting rid of that we haven’t seen? Let us hope, nothing. Because the First Amendment of the US Constitution is nothing to be trifled with.

In the future, Superintendent Christy, allow me to save you some time. I always download, save and back-up any video that comes into Stand Up Clark County. So, if I’ve seen it, all your efforts in the world won’t make it go away

Stand Up Clark County for free speech and downloaded videos.