SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The Schenectady City School District held a public forum and panel discussion Let's Talk about Our Community and Schools on Wednesday night, and parents spoke out about bullying at the school.
This public forum comes after the district identified an all-girl fight club at Mont Pleasant Middle School in October. At the same time, 18 students were suspended from the same school for bad behavior.
"I'm a parent of a child who does not want to go to school every day and I am seeking to put her somewhere else," parent Mary White said.
Another parent described the scenes of bullying at the school.
"She was dragged in the bathroom by one student who she thought was her friend, and then by another student," Vickie Salvo explained. "Who she had been friends with the period before, who grabbed her by the hair and slammed her head on the ground two times, all the while she was being filmed on smartphones and threatened to be put on Facebook."
Another parent, Deborah Matos, told the story of her 14-year-old daughter who she said was bullied so badly that she is now being home-schooled. Matos' daughter has burn marks on her face.
"They kept calling my daughter burnt girl, teasing her," she said. "It first started verbally and then it became physical."
Salvo and Matos were just two people in a long line of parents who expressed concern about student behavior.
Superintendent Dr. Larry Spring said there is no easy answer. However, he said the quickest answer is often suspension, which he acknowledges does not eliminate the problem.
"What do we put in place to make sure they're behaving different in the future?" he asked. "That they're just not having a five-day vacation or a 15-day vacation, and then coming back and engaging in that behavior again."
Of everyone who was on the panel during the community forum, every single person pointed out that parents need to be engaged.
Dr. Spring said that also points to a bigger issue.
"Who are the folks that are not here this evening?" he asked. "Who are the folks who do not usually come to the table and how do we make sure they are a part of the process?"
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