Recent tragedy causes parents to speak out on bullying in school - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Recent tragedy causes parents to speak out on bullying in schools

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DODGE CENTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- E-mails and comments on Facebook continue to flood KTTC since our report on the Mantorville teenager who took her life after months of being bullied.

Monday night, Rachel Ehmke's parents said they did not want their daughter to have died in vain.

Her story is already proving to get others talking about bullying and what we can do to stop it.

Rachel's story hit close to home for Heather Paulson of Dodge Center.  

Her daughter, Jessica, was bullied at schools in Triton from 8th grade until 10th grade.

"When my daughter came to me and told me that she didn't want to live anymore because of the bullying, I was devastated. Absolutely devastated," Paulson said.

Jessica was bullied right out of her school.

Paulson encouraged Jessica to stay at her school in Triton but it became too much for her.

She hasn't been mistreated since attending Byron High School.

"As parents, we need to listen... whether your child is the one being bullied or if your child is the one doing the bullying. You need to address the issue," Paulson said.

Governor Mark Dayton formed an anti-bullying task force back in November.

It includes Vangie Castro of Rochester's Diversity Council.

"It's about young people and giving them, empowering them, to be able to stand up for themselves in school to help create a safe school environment for themselves," Castro said back in February.

Castro also says it's important to report any incidents.

If you don't report it, they can't address it.

Castro also says parents should teach kids the difference between tattling and telling.

Paulson believes the real problem is that Minnesota has an anti-bullying law but no policy.

"There's only 8 states that have the law only... that do not have the policy," Paulson said.

Minnesota's statute on bullying is 37 words long, the shortest anti-bullying law in the nation.

You can find it here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=121a.0695.

You could do everything right and still your kid could be bullied.

But what happens if the school isn't addressing it?

Castro recommends filing a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at: http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/intake/index.html.

You can also file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Education.

Various offices you can contact are found at: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/JustParent/BullySafeSch/.

For more information on bullying go to: http://www.stopbullying.gov/.

 

 

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