In wake of mother's lawsuit, how other school districts address bullying
BOONVILLE - Boonville school district superintendent Sarah Marriott said that communities need to understand bullying doesn't stop when kids leave school.
The school district started a community Bullying Advisory Committee that works to engage families in conversation about bullying in 2016.
"We talk about bullying, it’s not a taboo topic, it’s something all students need to be aware of," Marriott said.
Mid-Missourians are talking about the impact of bullying and what schools are doing about it, following a Hallsville mother, Renee Overstreet, filed a lawsuit against the Hallsville school district.
In the petition Overstreet said the school knew her daughter, Rylie Wagner, was getting bullied and did nothing about it leading up to Wagner taking her own life.
Boonville resident Mary Pat Abele said communication is one of ways to be proactive against bullying.
"Both the schools and families and community need to recognize there is bullying, we all need to help our young children know they can talk to us," Abele said.
Abele said she moved back to Boonville over 40 years ago because it's a close-knit community. She said the small population doesn't mean it's more subject to bullying than a large city.
"There are always things that happen in any community. No community is perfect, but all we can do is strive to be the best for our families our children," she said.
Marriott said as a mom herself there's no way to know how you will react if your child gets bullied until it happens.
"I think my anticipated reaction would be devastation," she said. "I would want to know what to do if I can do to make it better for my child. 'How can I fix this?' I think that’s a normal parent reaction."
Marriott said every case is different and each case will be handled individually.
"I don’t think we can eradicate bullying, but we’re going try to do the best we can," she said.