Parents express bullying concern during school board public comment meeting

Published 12:56 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Two parents expressed concerns to the Chilton County Board of Education about their child being bullied as a part of the board’s annual public comment meeting on May 17.

The meeting gives anyone in the community an opportunity to speak to the board directly.

Anthony Diebolt said his children have been bullied since attending school in Jemison. Earlier on the day of the meeting, his son had told a teacher he was being bullied.

“Later, today that same kid attacked my son,” Diebolt said. “My son defended himself after he was pushed down on the floor and hit several times. My son turned around and defended himself as I taught him to do.”

Both students received a one-day suspension.

Diebolt said the consequences for someone who is defending themselves should not be the same as for the bully.

He said a policy like this makes it less likely that students will report being bullied.

“If we want them to speak out and we want to help them, we cannot treat them the same way we do the bullies,” Diebolt said. “It does not make sense. There has to be a modification to the rule to protect the kids that are being bullied.”

A board member asked which school the student attended. Diebolt answered that he was in fifth grade in Jemison. That would put him at Jemison Intermediate. Superintendent Jason Griffin gave Diebolt his business card and asked him to give him a call.

Katie Collins expressed concerns that seventh and 11th grade classes had been bullied by a teacher this school year.

“I filed the proper complaints like I was informed to by Mr. Griffin, and the board never heard my complaints,” Collins said.

She said her daughter and several other students had spoken up about the issue.

“Seven of them were brave enough to write out complaints three different times and take them to the principal and the vice principal, and they were overlooked,” Collins said.

She said the teacher had “cussed them … She was degrading. She would not help them with their classwork for a whole year, and she’s still there.”

Collins said when she asked the principal why nothing was being done, “he said he would have to believe the teacher over the students.”

A board member asked which school was being discussed, and Collins said it was Isabella.

Other comments were made by Jason Coats of the Clanton Youth Football program. He spoke in favor of the board approving the program to be able to use the Chilton County High School stadium.

“With the help of, (CCHS principal) Mr. (Ron) Pinson, we have worked out every logistic that we can to make it great for us, great for the high school,” Coats said.

He said Pinson and the football coach were supportive of the program because it prepares students to play at the high school level.

During the board’s voting session, use of the stadium was approved.