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Oklahoma mother wants to change how schools approach bullying

Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-16 13:39:20-04

TULSA, OK (KJRH) — An Oklahoma mother is looking for change to how schools approach bullying, after she says her daughter was bullied for months, before she pulled her out of school.

In Oklahoma schools, an issue has to be repeated for it to be considered bullying. Nicole Fleming's daughter Madi was a sixth grader at Central High Public Schools in Stephens County. Nicole says Madi was bullied for months before finally pulling her out two weeks ago.

Central High Public Schools Superintendent Bennie Newton tells 2 Works for You while he can't comment on the matter specifically, the schools don’t take any issue lightly and "thoroughly investigate every issue" as soon as it arises.

Newton went on to say the school is taking extra measures this year to make sure students are safe, and has done so increasingly in recent years as well.

"We continually improve our safety because we want students to be as safe and secure as possible," Newton said.

Fleming says the issue with her daughter became more dramatic over a period of months.

"When we found her Google history on her phone, which was how to commit suicide successfully, that was the end of it for me," Fleming said. "We were not going to send her back to that school."

Since 2009, bullying in Oklahoma high schools has increased by thousands of kids. Steve Hahn at Parent Child Center of Tulsa says it could point to an issue with how schools approach bullying.

He's backing a bill trying to change the definition so schools would take a more proactive approach.

"The change would be single incidents that are highly likely to be repeated could be defined or coded as bullying," Hahn said.

The new definition would mirror the CDC's definition of bullying, and would change the way teachers and administrators are able to approach the issue in Oklahoma schools. He says the new definition would allow schools to get ahead of the issue before it gets out of hand.

"That could address this situation exactly," Hahn said. "What can be done to prevent harm or violence or mistreatment from happening to my child? That way you can have a conversation about what that looks like at school for your child."

Hahn says it would create a uniform approach for schools when it comes to addressing bullying issues.

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