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Tag Archive | "anti-bullying"

Parent files lawsuit against Cedar Springs Public Schools


 

By Judy Reed

The mother of a Cedar Springs graduate filed a lawsuit in Federal Court last week against Cedar Springs Public Schools and several administrators regarding how they allegedly handled an assault that occurred in 2014.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants’ “indifferent response to a student-on-student sexual assault on school premises and subsequent sexual harassment” violated Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding, as well as denied the student’s right to equal protection under the fourteenth amendment.

According to the lawsuit, in the fall of 2014, the student had a locker next to another student, simply known in the lawsuit as “JD.” The suit alleges that JD began to slam the door of the lockers into the plaintiff. A school official that witnessed it then allegedly told the plaintiff that JD likely had a “crush” on the plaintiff and was merely flirting. No action was taken to curb the locker-slamming.

The plaintiff then notified an administrator that the incidents were occurring and she wanted JD to stop. The administrator allegedly told the plaintiff that it was “horseplay” and that there was nothing the district could do.

The lawsuit then states that on October 9, 2014, the plaintiff was at her locker, leaning towards the interior when JD slammed the locker door into the plaintiff’s head. He then walked away, laughing. The suit says that the locker door hit her head so hard that she experienced immediate pain and started crying. The girl went to her next class, and the teacher sent her to the office. Officials gave her ice for her head, but did not seek medical attention. An official reviewed video footage, but said it was blurry.

The girl’s mother arrived at school but was not allowed to see the video. She became frustrated with the lack of cooperation from school officials and was escorted from the premises. She then took her daughter to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with acute head trauma, having sustained a concussion. She received a CT scan two days later, and another in January 2015. She was also diagnosed with vestibular dysfunction, including dizziness, fatigue and some memory dysfunction. She also began suffering from headaches.

The plaintiff’s parents said they attempted to contact the Superintendent about their daughter’s safety, but she did not return their calls.

School officials initially said plaintiff could move her locker, but ended up having JD move his. She still saw him throughout the day, however. The parents then filed a complaint with police against JD and he was charged with assault and battery. JD then allegedly began spreading rumors about the plaintiff, and bullying her. Plaintiff reported this to school officials, but the suit says no steps were taken to stop the harassment.

The plaintiff says she still suffers physical pain, as well as emotional and psychological distress.

The Post emailed the Superintendent VanDuyn about the case and the effectiveness of current anti-bullying programs, but she did not respond to our request for comment.

The School did implement several anti-bullying measures the last couple of years, including the OK2Say program, a peer listening group, and partnered with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office to employ a full-time deputy on campus.

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2014-2015 PARENT EDUCATION SPEAKERS SERIES


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PRESENTS:

2014-2015 PARENT EDUCATION SPEAKERS SERIES

Sessions will be held at Cedar Springs High School

auditorium 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Sessions are open to parents, students and community members.

• October 21 – Y do You Hate Me? (Anti-Bullying)Jeff Veley, President –Where Are You Going Productions

Jeff Veley is a former troubled teen turned award-winning youth speaker with a powerful message for students, parents, and educators.  He engages diverse audiences through illusions, clean comedy, and speaking on topics like bullying and healthy relationships.  Target Audience (K-12)

November 18 – Online Safety for Youth

Nic Bottomley, LMSW, ASOTP Therapist Family Division 17th Circuit Court 

An overview of the ongoing media revolution and the risks our youth face online.  We will discuss what parents can do to help keep their children safe. Target audience (6-12)

February 24 –  Languages of Love

Anne King, Teacher & Motivation Consultant 

There are five basic love languages – five ways to express love emotionally. Each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved.  Learn to identify your language, the language of your family members and how to best relate to your child.  Target audience (K-12)

April 21 – Emerging Drug Trends

Heidi Denton, MSW Allegan County Community Mental Health 

Navigating the teen years has never been more challenging. This presentation goes beyond the basic drug facts and will talk about new drugs, where youth are learning about these new drugs and how to engage in heart-to-heart talks about drugs. Target Audience (6-12)

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Kent School Services Network to host parenting with purpose


 

September 23, 6:30-8:00 at Cedar Springs High School

What do lunches, books, haircuts, and speakers all have in common? They are all part of programs the Kent School Services Network has brought to Cedar Springs. KSSN is an initiative that involves many partners and services, with the primary goal being to increase student achievement.

KSSN is excited to offer a Parent Education Speaker Series this year on topics to cover everything from parenting, to anti-bullying, to emerging drug trends. The first in the series will be Parenting with a Purpose, on Tuesday, September 23, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Cedar Springs High School auditorium.

The session, taught by Zsanara Hoskins, M.A. Educational Leadership, is about intentional parenting. The description reads: “We all want our children to be successful but what are we doing to set the tone for their achievement? We all have goals and dreams for our children, but are the things we are doing moving us towards those desired results? Parenting with Purpose is all about intentional parenting! In this session, we will take a deeper look at what it truly means to be an intentional parent. Through a practical approach, Zsanara teaches parents 8 steps they should do to be a parent of purpose and ensure their child’s success! Target audience is K-12.”

Future sessions in the series are:

October 21: “Y do you hate me?” (anti-bullying)

November 18: Online safety for youth

February 24: Languages of love

April 21: Emerging drug trends

KSSN is in 29 school sites and nine districts within the Kent ISD. While services vary from school to school, depending on what families are seeking, typical services include counseling, health care, DHS. Special events, workshops, and activities may also be offered at the schools. Placing services at school removes many barriers families have in finding services and helps keep students in class. When students are in class, they can keep learning and achieving. The school offers a welcoming place, builds relationships with families and serves as the “hub” of the neighborhood in meeting community needs. This also provides a one-stop location for families, making services easy to use.

This summer, KSSN staff coordinated with school personnel and community partners to help bring in some programs to the Cedar Springs Mobile Estates. The CSPS Food Service was able to offer free lunches through their “Meet up and Eat Up” initiative.  Under the direction of Jane Webster, lunches were brought out to the Estates twice a week. Steve Seward, Assistant Superintendent, led the charge to spread the word to teachers and administrators, and rallied a troop of amazing staff who donated their time and their books to students. Children were read to, and given books.  Rachel VanHorn from the Kent County Health Department also ran programs, offering workshops on self-esteem, healthy decision-making, substance abuse, and conflict resolution.

Another program KSSN offered this year was free haircuts during open house at Cedar View and the Middle School. Stylists were recruited from the Random Acts of Hazel facebook page and donated their services. They were able to provide over 50 haircuts to students.

If you would like more information or have any questions regarding KSSN, please feel free to contact Community School Coordinators:  Jennifer Willette (Cedar View) 696-9102 ext. 6295 Jodi West (Middle School) 696-9100 ext. 6278.

 

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