Elysian Fields parents take concerns about bullying to the school board

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ELYSIAN FIELDS, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – A grieving community is coming together to take their concerns about bullying to the Elysian Fields school board.

So many people attended the Monday night meeting that it had to be moved into the auditorium. Parents were there to rally behind two families and prevent another tragedy.

“Those who are here to support Ma’Kala and her family please stand up,” Bryton Johnson said to the packed crowd.

He was referring to a young girl named Ma’Kala  who allegedly committed suicide because of bullying at Elysian Fields. Her tragedy brought other parents out in droves to the meeting. The Panola County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating her death. While her grandmother has a message for bullies.

“Treat others as you wish to be treated because what you do it will come back around again. God is for us all and you have to do right. This should not have been,” said Renell Williams, Ma’Kala’s grandmother.

Williams said she appreciates her community’s support. Especially from Ma’Kala’s friend Lauryn who spoke out about being recently bullied in school and felt she did not have help from her teachers.

“Some kids don’t have a voice and I just wanted to be a voice for them,” said Lauryn Penn, 6th grader at Elysian Fields.

Lauryn’s mom Milissa said she was infuriated when she found out about what happened to her daughter after what happened to Ma’Kala.

“I was highly upset, highly upset,” Penn said.

The Penn’s said they came to the meeting want to raise awareness and it inspired other parents to share their frustrations.

“Our kids are getting penalized because they don’t know what to do and who knows if she knew what to do,” said one parent.

“What are we going to do to make sure this never happens again because this is completely preventable,” said another parent.

The Penn’s also have a message for the parents of kids who are bullies.

“If it wasn’t for her little voice making my big voice happen and the good Lord as well, so to the parents yes if you know there’s a problem there’s always someone who’s going to support you and to speak up,” Milissa Penn said.

The school board could not specifically address the situation of bullying because it was not on their meeting’s agenda which they must legally follow. However, members did speak to parents off the record and said they do not want this to ever happen again and will do everything in their power to prevent bullying.

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Did You Know?

  1. More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
  2. 33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
  3. Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
  4. Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression (Center for Disease Control, 2015).
  5. Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013).

(Data provided by Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center. Visit their website to see more bullying statistics.)

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