SCS, parents seek ways to end bullying

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — What is the solution to remove bullying from Sidney City Schools? That was the question asked by community members during Monday’s Sidney City Schools Board of Education meeting at Sidney High School.

Sidney Police Chief Will Balling said bullying is not a new problem in schools or communities. He said the addition of social media to the situation is causing even more problems.

“We need to work together as a community and talk about these issues. It’s not going to be solved overnight.”

Balling said the police department wants to work with the school district, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and resource officers to find a solution to the problem.

“We need your help,” he told those present for the meeting. He said the fighting after school and off school property is another problem which his department is trying to stop.

He also said teachers need to be educated about how to prevent bullying.

“”We need to educate ourselves as human beings,” he said. “Let’s work together and not against each other to end bullying.”

Superintendent Bob Humble discussed the Student Wellness Task Force composed of staff, parents, community members and students.

“We’ve received a big response,” said Humble.

He said more than 25 people — parents, former students and community members — have contacted the board about the task force. He said a meeting will be held to establish objectives and goals of the task force. Student wellness and bullying, he said, will have top priority.

Barbara Greenbaum, of Sidney, whose son, Matthew Couchot, tried to commit suicide, told the board members that her son loved elementary school but when he entered the middle school, that all changed.

“He’s been called out in class and asked why he can’t read or write,” she told the board. “I went to the principal and he was suspended. When he returned to school, the teacher told him she had worked there for 20 years and could do what she wants. Now he’s in the eighth grade and he’s got a couple of teachers who are bullying him.

“What do you do when this is supposed to be a safe space for these children,” she said. “Teachers make fun of him because of his IEP. This has got to stop. I don’t want them (parent) to have to sit in an ICU watching their child fight for their life because teachers promoted bullying.”

Nick Inman, of Sidney, who went over his 3 minute allotted time, said he was concerned about the leadership within the district. He claimed that the school district caters to certain students and wonders if the teacher/aide cuts have affected the students.

“The district must be more transparent if you want to pass a levy,” said Inman.

He also accused board members of not supporting former Superintendent John Scheu and forcing him out of his job with the district. Jason Schaffner cleared up one point that he was not a member of the Hardin-Houston Board of Education when Scheu was the district’s superintendent.

David Yates, of Sidney, asked if a student is defending himself why are both students punished? He feels the person trying to defend himself shouldn’t be punished.

Xavior Foy, of Sidney, told the board he had approached the district a year ago about an anti-bullying program.

“Everything I’m hearing now, I brought this to the board a year in a program to help Sidney City Schools,” said Foy. “You dropped the ball then. Everything Chief Balling is said, we should already been doing.”

Cherie Epperson, of Sidney, also presented a list of questions she’d like answered dealing with items such as how much does it cost the board to place an issue on the ballot, how much money is used for advertising for a levy and how many faculty members see the physican who is located at the board of education office.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.