Hilliard Northwest News

Parent says she was not notified of incident at school


The parent of a Hilliard Memorial Middle School student addressed the Hilliard Board of Education Monday, Oct. 22, criticizing the district's policy on how administrators and teachers handle unruly students.

The district parent told board members that school administrators failed to inform her that another student assaulted her son, a seventh-grader at Memorial Middle School.

The parent said she learned about the incident not from school administrators, but during an Oct. 15 individualized education program conference with her son's teacher.

The assault, during which her son was reportedly choked, occurred about two weeks prior to the teacher conference. The parent said the teacher told her the boy who reportedly assaulted her son has teased him in the past.

The parent said the teacher told her a formal report was filed regarding the assault. She told board members she questioned an assistant principal about it, who said she did not consider it her responsibility to inform her of the incident.

The parent said she was told by an assistant superintendent that no precise policy governs how such incidents are handled, but that each case is determined using "best practices." This particular incident involving her son was considered to be "boys being boys," she said.

"I think the current policy should be reviewed," the parent said to the school board Oct. 22.

Board President Lisa Whiting asked the woman if her son is OK and apologized for the incident, but no other board members spoke or addressed the policy.

District spokeswoman Amanda Morris said Oct. 23 the subject of the parent's complaint was an "incident" rather than an "assault." She said incidents are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the specific incident continues to be reviewed.

"The district does have a bullying policy that includes a wide range of discipline options," she said. "When administrators and teachers handle student discipline issues, they take a great deal of issues into account and our policies are designed to provide them with the flexibility to take all issues into account and make decisions that are best for the student(s) involved."

Morris said the same behavior might be disciplined differently based on whether the action was viewed as a pattern of escalating violence or an isolated incident, and that the policy has no absolute requirements regarding notification of incidents.