Bullying in St. Johns Must Stop, Parents Say

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

Jonathon Hannahs says he's often afraid to go to school.

"Because I don't want to get hurt," he said.

He's a third grader at Eureka Elementary, where he says a classmate has gotten out of control.

"He chokes people, he pushes them down, and sometimes he'll like, throw them to the ground," he said.

Jonathon's mom and about 40 other concerned parents met with the St. Johns district superintendent last week. They say the bullying has been going on since last year, and they've had enough.

They should have "a trained professional to be with that child at at all times, at lunch, possilby on the bus, at recess," he said.

Parents say it's not just happening in the third grade. They say bulling is a schoolwide problem that's making not just the classroom, but the cafeteria, even the playground, unsafe for their kids.

"One of the second graders came home to his mom and said, 'Mom, I'm afraid that he's gonna come in and bring a gun and shoot somebody,'" said parent Rebecca Ernst.

"My son to be saying, 'mom, adults are seeing what's happening and they aren't doing anything,'" said Nicola Bailey, "it's heartbreaking as a mom."

Superintendent Ken Ladouceur says he's not opposed to one-on-one supervision but couldn't comment on this specific case.

"You pull out all the stops you have to to meet the safety concerns of all children," he said.

Parents say they're so worried, they're going to be protesting near the district office Wednesday morning and pulling their kids out of school for the day.


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  • by Rhonda Location: DeWitt on Oct 28, 2010 at 05:32 PM
    My youngest son went to Eureka for 2 yrs. and loved it there. It was when he went to St. Johns schools that problems began, not so much with kids but with the teachers, he was labeled because of his last name. And in high school one teacher even made the comment that her special ed students were smarter then this bunch of kids. Needless to say, he finished his education in Adult Ed., with a great bunch of teachers who genuinely care about the kids they teach. I have seen first hand how kids are treated if they aren't a brainiac, or a jock. Nothing was ever done to help him or any of my other kids. Hopefully, Eureka something will be done, because it is a great school.
  • by judy on Oct 28, 2010 at 04:02 PM
    This really isnt an issue of bullying as originally stated, but an emotionally unstable child. His parents should want to help him instead of trying to ignore the situation. I think his family should be visited by Child Protective Services so they can evaluate the situation. It has gone beyond the school districts power but they should also expell him so that the rest of the kids can feel safe and not afraid to go to school. He is infringing on their rights to an education. By no way should anybody think that this little school is unsafe. I have had experience with one of the elementary schools in town and one in the country, and believe me the one in the country was superior in so many ways.
  • by Essex Resident Location: St. Johns on Oct 28, 2010 at 03:43 PM
    " I have heard that the superintendent was the superintendent at Columbine, Co during the tragedy." While I have no love for this school administration; that is simply not true. The superintendant came from a much smaller school district (about a tenth the size), does NOT have a degree in education, and generally lies, but he was NOT at Columbine.
  • by Enough is Enough Location: Michigan on Oct 28, 2010 at 03:33 PM
    Ok so all of you making these accusations, why are some of you not attaching your REAL names? IF you feel so strongly why are you hiding?? For the poster who said that the Superintendent came from Columbine.. maybe you ought to do a little fact checking, because he did NOT. That goes for ALL of you before you spew ignorant information. For those of you who will jump at the use of ignorance; here is Webster's definition: destitute of knowledge or education; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified. Which is rampant on this subject matter!
  • by anonymous Location: st johns on Oct 28, 2010 at 12:29 PM
    My child is in the 3rd grade class and unless you have been in the class to see you have no ideal the severity of the situation. He has assaulted a student everyday. He hisses and makes noises in the students faces. He has hit, kick, scratched and bit the staff. I have heard that the superintendent was the superintendent at Columbine, Co during the tragedy. He let it happen there and now is going to let it happen in St Johns. This child is giving plenty of warning signs. I do think the child needs help, more help then what Eureka School can give to him. I hope the child gets the help and all the victims (children) get consuling for all the physically and mental abuse they have been through the last few years.
  • by Anonymous Location: St. Johns on Oct 28, 2010 at 11:51 AM
    " Too bad the parents at Eureka can't rally together to support the staff in trying to help this student, rather than protest against them." What makes you think we haven't. This child is a huge danger. The school has failed this time, and they need to be held accountable. The next step should be a lawsuit unless this child is not removed.
  • by Anonymous Location: St Johns on Oct 28, 2010 at 07:35 AM
    We parents have tried to help the staff but when the superintendent is not willing to do something about it than what can we do? We have tried to take all the necessary steps and the school keeps telling us parents that there hands are tied. Have you read the artical in the Lansing State Journal today? Our superintendent quoated said "I don't know of anyone in the state or country that has expelled an elementary student. We just couldn't expel them that young," "We have to teach them to be a friend and to make a friend and that's what teaching young children is about" So because this third grader is a child we cannot expell him...bull!!!! Lets get the child the help he needs and in the same breath protect the children at Eureka before this child hurts someone else!
  • by Class Mom Location: St. Johns on Oct 28, 2010 at 07:23 AM
    I agree with the WLNS posting: "...the school board should have a policy whereby a child who has been suspended more than once or engaged in a significant incident should be evaluated and made to engage in individual and family therapy. Often times bullies are struggling with issues and this is a call for help. Through my experience there are often significant problems in the home that need to be addressed immediately." Of note, I directly observed this child had to be removed from the classroom on repeated occasions. Also, the child's parent had to pick him up from school after a mid-morning outburst and he did not return the rest of the day. While this isn't technically a "suspension" it seems similar...child had to be removed from the classroom environment.
  • by Anonymous Location: SJ on Oct 27, 2010 at 08:56 PM
    This is NOT an issue of bullying! Obviously this child has a mental illness or a behavioral disorder. He needs help! Anyone who works in education knows that it can be very difficult to get parental permission to evaluate a student, let alone get permission to provide special services if that is needed. Meanwhile, a public school MUST provide every student the opportunity for education. St. Johns is a great community and a great school district. Too bad the parents at Eureka can't rally together to support the staff in trying to help this student, rather than protest against them.
  • by Corunna parent Location: corunna, mi on Oct 27, 2010 at 08:32 PM
    What is going on with not only with the school officials, but with this kids parents?? Did/Do they teach this child right from wrong?? This WOULD NOT be tolerated in this school district at all!!! My niece goes to St. Johns and she had a few bullies in the 6th grade last year. She then transfered here to Corunna and liked the people and the school....for BULLYING isn't tolerated at all!!! She then this year returned to St Johns 7th grade and she says it seems a bit better!! Parents of these bullies need to sit with there kids and teach them right from wrong!! Don't these kids know what happened at Columbine?? This is so unbelievable!! "The" parents need to wake up for their child could end up being another face on the news who went to school and shot his/her classmates and teachers!! School officials need to wake the heck up as well!! Make our schools (that's why we pay taxes) safe for everyone!! don't sit on it, you could see the school you work at on the news!
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