TUSD parents have an option when bullying is so bad

TUSD Governing Board member Michael Hicks

TUSD parents have an option when bullying is so bad

CREATED Mar 5, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Our viewers have come to us demanding answers and action from school leaders, including those in TUSD. They want to know, we want to know: what are parents supposed to do when they feel they have no choice but to take their kids out of school because the bullying is so bad?

We put that question to TUSD administrators and they haven't stepped up to respond, but Governing board member Michael Hicks did.

We all know schools can't address this issue alone -- this is a mutli-faceted problem and takes a community-wide effort to solve it, but Hicks said the board and district to stop turning a blind eye to these desperate situations.

"We need to take bullying seriously because bullying is a serious issue," said Hicks. He is outraged at how some TUSD schools have handled bullying. KGUN 9 didn't have to show Hicks our coverage of the issue -- he's personally heard plenty of stories from teachers, parents and students.  "I had a teacher tell me about two girls who were fighting and then she tried to break it up and the other adult said no, you stay out of it. What?"

KGUN 9 aired two stories, last month, of parents who did everything in their power to stop students from bullying their children -- including calling police -- with no success. These parents said there is nothing left to do, but take their kids out of the school. "That's sad," replied Hicks. "I hear that a lot. I keep telling the district, we're doing this wrong. Whether they like it or not, we have students who are moving out of the district just to get the kids out of TUSD. That's wrong."

So Hicks wants the Governing board and the district to hold administrators accountable when silence and inaction is the order of the day on campus. "We need to focus, fess up and decide how do we fix it."

And when parents feel they've run out of options, Hicks said the buck stops at the board level. "Ultimately, it's the boards responsibility to make sure that our schools are safe for our children. If something is going on at one of these schools and we're not doing it -- it's my fault."

And he wants parents to personally contact him when they've reached the end of the road. Hicks said he can't speak for the rest of the board, but he will launch investigations into the issues and put pressure on the district administrators and teachers to come up with solutions.

Click here to contact TUSD board member Michael Hicks.