Dubuque Parent Starts Bullying Forum After Student Injured at School

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - The Dubuque Community School Board voted to amend its bullying policy last week to better support student victims.
But some parents and students are wondering how helpful those changes will be.

Last Friday a fight broke out at Jefferson Middle School resulting in one student being taken to the hospital with a head injury. School officials aren't sure if it's bullying related but are considering that theory as they investigate.

12-year Tyler Wallace says he was standing up to a student who was bullying him when that student took a swing at him.

Tyler said, "He got closer and trapped me in the corner. "

He says the student slammed him against a door window. Glass shattered and cut the side of his head. Paramedics took Tyler to the hospital.

Tyler's mom, Jessica Wallace, said he believes the student has been bullying her son for several months.

"This bully escalated and,in my eyes, he attempted and did harm Tyler on purpose," said Jessica.

Dubuque Schools Director of Secondary Education, David Olson said, "The allegation of bullying we are aware of and we are very concerned about. But we are still investigating if it really is bullying or not. But we are taking it very serious."

After hearing Tyler's story a group of women initiated a private Facebook Forum to allow discussions about bullying.

"I kind of thought we needed a closed forum so we could safely discuss our fears, " said Tassie Crews.

Brianna Morgan said, "People can talk about it in private. I've gotten bullied for standing up to bullying. "

Some members of the group say they're not sure what Dubuque school administrators are doing to address bullying in schools.

School officials say they are working on it.

Olson said, "We hope for the students to be really aware that we support them. We want for them to know there is a system in place to report the bullying. We want them to feel comfortable. To feel safe and that the school will do something about it. "

As for Tyler, he just wants the whole thing to be over.

"It feels like he's going to come after me any minute. Because he chased me once before to try and get me, " said Tyler.

This week teachers and administrators from Dubuque schools are taking part in a bullying intervention conference. District officials say that training on the next step in tackling bullying issues in schools.
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