Parents say district failed to follow policy on bullying, harass - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Parents say district failed to follow policy on bullying, harassment

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BULLARD, TX (KLTV) -

After an East Texas student was harassed on a Bullard ISD campus, his older brother was sexually assaulted by some of the same children a year later.

We told you about the Bullard ISD student who was assaulted by other students on a band trip in 2012.

According to the Bullard Police Chief, those students were found guilty for their roles in the incident and they've been punished by the law.

The victim's parents say some of those same boys harassed their younger son a year earlier. For the last 11 months, that family has struggled to get answers from the school district. They say if the district had handled the harassment incident differently, the sexual assault may never have happened. In order to protect the juvenile victim of the sexual assault, the father telling his family's story will not be identified.

"This is a horrible situation and there's nothing we can do to turn the clock back and do it over. If we could, my wife and I and my sons would be the first ones to turn that clock back but we can't," explains the victims' father.

The father says, in 2011 two of the same boys involved in the school bus incident attacked his younger son by picking him up and holding him sideways, then using a crutch to try and shove it in inappropriate places.

The victims' family says they thought the district had handled that incident accordingly.

"The vice principal of the junior high called and told my wife, 'I've punished the boys and called their parents just like I told you I was going to do,'" explains the father.

But a year later, when records of that incident were needed in the sexual assault case, no school records were found.

"Why are the policies in place if no one is going to follow them?" asks the father.

In a January letter to the victim's family, the superintendent states, "As we have already informed you, we have searched our records following your prior request but have not found any incident report about this matter. If an incident occurred as you described, it was never reported to the BISD middle school administrators."

According to the district's policy on bullying, all reports must be investigated and a final written report "shall include a determination of whether bullying occurred."

"This school district has done everything they possibly can do, in our opinion, to sweep this under the rug,"  says the victims' father.

After months of fighting, the family says an administrator finally recalled the incident. In a March letter to the superintendent, the middle school assistant principal referred to the incident as "harassment" he also wrote that he "did not call either of the [alleged aggressors] parents and tell them [he] gave them a warning."

The family filed a grievance against the assistant principal earlier this year. The family of the victim says the assistant principal violated school policy by not making a record of the incident.
The victim's family says their complaints have been continually denied on the basis of timeliness.

"We've been treated badly and I get the question constantly, 'Why are your kids still at Bullard ISD?' and we sat our boys down and spoke to them about sending them to another school and my oldest son, point blank, said it best, he said, 'Dad, my friends know what happened. My teachers know what happened. Most everybody around knows what happened and nobody is judging me. I did not do anything wrong. Why should I have to leave? I've been going to school here since first grade. Why should I have to leave my friends?' ...What do you say? You've got the let them grow up," says the father.

Bullard ISD Superintendent Keith Bryant released this statement:

"Bullard ISD is committed to providing a safe and secure educational environment for our students.  While we are unable to comment directly on any allegations due to the privacy rights of others, rest assured that the welfare of our students has always been, and will always be, our foremost concern.  Our campuses deal with a myriad of situations each day, and our district professionals work hard to ensure that they investigate, communicate, and follow through with appropriate discipline as deemed necessary in each and every situation."

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