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ETX mother questions school district's new "anti-bully toolkit"

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ETX mother has questions after district uses anti-bulling toolkit ETX mother has questions after district uses anti-bulling toolkit

Kilgore Independent School District administration have implemented a new set of guidelines when it comes to investigating allegations of bullying and harassment on their campuses. 

KISD Deputy Superintendent Dennis Williams said the district purchased this "anti-bullying toolkit" from attorneys Walsh and Anderson before this school year started.

"It basically gives you step by step guides on how to investigate you know, all of the information that comes in. They even have formed letters that if there was bullying found there's a letter that says that, if there was no bullying or harassment found, there's letters for that," Williams explained. 

And that is the letter East Texas mother Loretta Harrison said she received after her 12-year-old son came home from Kilgore Middle School with a reported head injury.

"As a result of our investigation, we have concluded that the reported conduct does not constitute bullying or harassment as defined in law and district policy. We did find that other students were in violation of student code of conduct for inappropriate behavior, "Harrison read from the letter the district sent her regarding her son's incident.

"But bullying and harassment, I need to know what that is because he's been picked on and teased, all of his school life," Harrison explained.  

Harrison said her son's head was shoved into a locker by another student who could not be identified.  She wants to know why the district sent a letter saying this incident did not fall into the bullying/harassment category.

So, KLTV asked the district, according to their policy, what constitutes bulling and harassment?

"If there's anything physical (harming a student), but not all of it would have to be physical. If it's severe, persistent or pervasive enough, if it exploits an imbalance of power and another one, if it interferes with a student's educational well being, any of those four things could be constituted as bullying," Williams explained. 

And although the district could not speak specifically about Harrison's son's incident, Williams did tell us this,"sometimes people call it bullying, but it could be horse playing or something like this." 

Overall, Harrison said she is happy with the reports and letters she is now receiving thanks to this new toolkit, but she's not 100 percent sure the district's investigations are accurate.

The letter to Harrison did say she could contact the school's office if she wanted to discuss the matter further or did believe her son was a target of student misconduct. 

School officials said they would need to check with their attorney before giving KLTV a copy of this anti-bullying toolkit, however, according to the attorneys' website, they offer a campus collection.

The website states that "The Administrator's Anti-Bullying Toolkit is a practical guide and CD with editable model forms to assist campus administrators respond to and address complaints of bullying and/or harassment. The Toolkit includes: 1) editable report/preliminary investigation forms (usually required by policy); 2)a bullying checklist; 3)investigation protocol; 4) a model report to administration (sometimes required by policy); 5) sample letters to parents of the alleged perpetrator and alleged victim with investigation findings and corrective actions (if needed); and, 6) other useful documents such as stay-away agreements."

The website goes on to say this kit "helps administrators by providing practical tools for aiding them in complying with federal/state law and district policies prohibiting bullying and harassment." 

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