Victim of school bullying speaks out

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – No parent wants to hear that their child is being bullied.

One local mom feels her concerns are not being heard by school officials and is worried for her son’s safety.

In 2016, The National Center for Educational statistics showed more than one out of five students reported being bullied.

Another study shows school-based bullying prevention program can decrease bullying by 25 percent.

Jessica Graceson says her 8-year-old son Donavan is being bullied ruthlessly on the bus.

“It’s been going on for much longer than I knew about.”

Donavan attends Marie Curie Institute in the Amsterdam School District and says two boys on the bus threatened to hit him and then do just that.

“I’d tell them to stop. But then they start doing the thing they said.”

Jessica says she told her son to stick up for himself and when that didn’t work she asked the school to intervene. She claims they’re not doing much.

“I’m trying to do everything to protect him and the schools aren’t doing their part in keeping him safe.”

The worst came last week.

“I got to my breaking point on Thursday. Donovan talked about hurting himself.”

“I was going to slice myself because I was so mad.”

Philip Rainer with Capital Counseling says bullying can make a child feel helpless and hopeless.

“They can really feel stuck. It can have a very strong effect on their mental health.”

It can be a contributor to suicidal thoughts.

“It can be part of a range of things going on that can drive a child to that kind of despair.”

Something that’s evident when Donavan talks about the bullying.

“Every time I’m getting bullied I’m feeling very mad.”

Jessica says she knows bullying is a societal problem. She wants schools to take their zero-tolerance policies seriously.

“I don’t like the fact that he’s afraid. He should never be afraid. He’s 8. He should be able to go to school and feel comfortable. Feel safe.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Vicky Ramos released the following statement:

“The Greater Amsterdam School District takes bullying seriously and investigates each complaint made to administration.  Once an incident has been brought to the school’s attention, the school investigates the matter and acts based on the district’s Code of Conduct and the student’s specific needs.

The district provides mandatory training to staff that specifically focuses on bullying prevention and appropriate responses. Because of these measures, staff and administrators respond consistently and appropriately when bullying is reported. All of our staff members are prepared to respond immediately whenever bullying is observed.

All staff and administration at Marie Curie Institute, including Principal John Penman, care about their students and are attentive to all reports of bullying.”

On the website for Marie Curie Institute, one of its “belief statements” is “everyone deserves to learn in a safe environment.”

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