Kalamazoo, MI- S.E.E Change (Social Economic and Educational Change) a group of parent advocates
affiliated with Michigan United and JABS (Justice Against Bullying @ School) attended Thursdays school board
meeting to express concerns about student bullying and physical restraint of students (By staff) that have lead to cuts, bruises, muscle strains, and a concussion in the case of one student. S.E.E Change parents also expressed concerns with segregation (alternative schools) of minority students and medicating of students with disabilities.
Earl Moore spoke of an SWIS report initiated by the schools that characterized his son’s behavior in criminal terms and the report follows his son wherever he goes. Earl also spoke of his son being bullied, which lead to a change in his son’s behavior, and the behavior change leads to physical restraint (by staff) of his son on numerous occasions and his son being suspended from school in excess of 30 days. Earl also commented that “The school refused to allow my son to come back to school unless he took medication”.
Gwendolyn Hooker spoke of the brutal multiple assaults upon her granddaughter (Justyce) at the hands of two attackers. She also spoke of the seeming lack of concern from the district in addressing the issue of the assault of Justyce and other bullied students in the district.
Tammie Woods spoke of her son’s battles with depression and anxiety after multiple restraints resulted in a concussion, cuts, and his arm being twisted., Tammie also spoke of the numerous services she pursued at SLD Read/WMU to help him with his reading, services that the school should have provided but she could not get any assistance and now SLD read Director has said her child does not qualify for SLD Read services.
George White lead advocate spoke about bullying and the effects of bullying that can lead to depression, withdrawal, low self-esteem, poor grades, poor peer relationships, increases the drop out ratio and in rare cases can lead to death. Mr. White also commented on the need for Restorative Justice models that are gaining traction all around the country in addressing student bullying, Trauma Informed Care practices in classrooms and the need for improving student, parent, teacher relationships.
S.E.E Change is committed to returning to every upcoming school board meeting with more and more parents/parent advocate groups until there is the change that the parents seek. S.E.E Change will lead the discussion in the community about policy reform needed to reduce bullying, expulsions, suspensions, restraint and medication dependence. The goal is to return all of our children to mainstream classrooms. It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group. No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.
It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group. No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.
Kalamazoo Promise 10 Year Update, 2006-2016