Category Archives: Bullying

Finally Protesting The Real Problem

.jpg photo of Bullying protest
Salethia Byrd (center) tears up while she speaks Wednesday morning in front of the Christian County Board of Education during a Bullying protest.

Group protests Bullying in schools

Christian County, KY  –  One teenager wished Wednesday morning in front of the Christian County Board of Education that more people would stop ignoring bullying.

“I wish people would see it and understand that words hurt people,” Salethia Byrd said during a bullying protest.

Salethia shared with the group that came to protest bullying that she started getting seriously bullied in the sixth grade.  A new girl came to the school, and Salethia said she tried to befriend the new girl.  However, that student began to hang out with people that didn’t like Salethia, which she didn’t know why.  The student began to talk about Salethia, but Salethia cut her off.

A short time later, the student apologized and asked to be friends again.  But the student started talking about her again.  Salethia shut her down again.

“To this day, she is still bullying me,” she said.

She wants people to know how much bullying can impact self-esteem.

Salethia explained she reported the student to the principal, but all the student got was a write-up.

“And that’s not going to stop anybody,” she said, adding she wished consequences were more severe for those bullying.

Her best friend, Anijah Watkins, said she was picked on because she was the odd one.  She didn’t know what it was exactly, whether it was the music she listened to or something else. But it got better for her with time.  Anijah said she just dealt with it and never told anyone.

Bullying protest organizer Adia Snorton Johnson said the protest was sparked by a video of students fighting that recently came out.  After the video was seen, people were calling her to tell her that their child was being bullied.

Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks also stopped by to present a proclamation declaring Wednesday an anti-bullying day.  He also shared a few stories of how he was bullied when he was a child.

Johnson said they had to do something about this.  So, she organized the protest.  But this won’t be the last of it.  Johnson said this will be a continuous effort.  For those who want to join, stop by the Legacy Learning center at 403 Moores Drive, call the center at 270-962-7229 or email Johnson at asnorton2011@gmail.com to find out how to get involved.

Johnson said they will meet throughout the summer and suggested children get involved in the Boys and Girls Club of Hopkinsville-Christian County’s summer camp.  It is $30 per teen.  If the family can’t afford to send the teen, Johnson said she’s willing to sponsor a few.

And if there are any children being bullied or doing the bullying, they have to be pointed in the right direction.

WI School Employee Arrested

.jpg photo of WI school employee accused of child sexual abuse
Timothy Schilling, 47

Holmen school worker charged with
sexual, physical Child Abuse

La Crosse, Wisconsin  –  A Holmen school district employee is accused of sexually and physically abusing a child over the course of about six years.

Timothy Schilling, 47, raped the boy, beat him with a belt, slapped his genitals with a fly swatter, and urinated on him, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

The boy told police the abuse began when he was about 6 and recounted several occasions when he was raped, according to the criminal complaint.  The boy described another encounter when he was about 8 when Schilling hit his bare back with a belt.

According to the complaint, Schilling slapped his face, urinated on his leg, and wrung out soiled underwear over his head when the boy struggled with wetting his pants.  He also pulled on the boy’s genitals and hit them with a fly swatter.

Prosecutors charged Schilling with repeated sexual assault of a child, two felony counts of physical abuse of a child and four counts of disorderly conduct.  The most serious charge carries a maximum 60-year sentence.  He is free on a signature bond.

Schilling, an educational assistant who worked in building security, was put on unpaid leave after he was arrested Nov. 27, according to a letter the district sent to parents.

School District Administrator Kristin Mueller said in the letter that Schilling did not work in classrooms and that his employment was under review.

Mueller said Wednesday that he remains on unpaid leave.

AZ Official Charged With Child Abuse In MN

.jpg photo of old Gila County Courthouse
Old Gila County Courthouse

Gila County official charged in MN with Child Abuse shortly after he was rehired

A manager for Gila County’s health and emergency services agency is scheduled to stand trial early next year in Minnesota on charges of abusing his two children, according to court documents.

Joshua Beck, 40, is charged with two counts of assault and two counts of endangering a child, according to court records in Cook County, Minnesota.  His trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 29.

Beck was the Cook County Health and Humans Services director in Minnesota before he resigned on July 21.  His charges were filed in Minnesota about a week later.

Before moving to Minnesota, Beck had worked as manager of Gila County’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness, a program within the department, in Globe.

Gila County hired him back after he left Minnesota, for the same position, a role that helps oversee the county’s 53,000 residents’ safety in event of a public health emergency.

Gila County Manager James Menlove said he was aware of Beck’s pending criminal court case.  He said Beck had applied for the job and was hired before the charges were filed.

“Gila County takes the charges against Beck very seriously, but as is the case with anyone in the criminal justice system who has yet to be convicted, Beck is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty,” according to an emailed statement.  “Gila County remains steadfastly committed to the safety of its employees and the residents it serves.”

Beck was rehired on July 18, before the charges were filed on Aug. 1 in Cook County, the statement says.  He had two previous stints with the county from November 2012 to May 2013 and again from March 2014 to September 2016.

His current annual salary in Gila County is $62,042.

‘We believe this is a witch hunt’

Through his lawyers, Beck denied the allegations.  He said the false claims of abuse are at the center of a custody dispute involving his stepson and stepdaughter and other family members.

“He adamantly disputes the allegations and is taking the steps to defend himself in court,” said Tyson Smith, a lawyer for Beck, in a phone interview.

Christa Jacqueline Groshek, another Minnesota lawyer for Beck, said in a phone interview Beck is innocent and the children’s grandmother has been seeking custody.

Groshek said Beck has three biological children with his wife and none of them have alleged they’ve been abused.  She added that Beck has worked in public health policy for a long time and he cares for families and children “so he wouldn’t hurt children.”

“We feel like he’s been wrongfully accused,” she said.  “We believe this is a witch hunt that started with the maternal grandmother.”

Groshek made these arguments on Monday to a judge in Cook County at a hearing seeking to dismiss the prosecutor’s evidence. She said she expects the judge to make a decision whether to dismiss the charges or not in the next couple of weeks.

Allegations of abuse

According to a probable-cause statement, the 10-year-old girl told a staff member at First Witness, a child well-being advocacy organization in Minnesota, Beck had abused her since before moving from Arizona.

“She indicated that the defendant calls her names, pulls her hair, throws objects at her, forcibly wakes her up, and takes away her cochlear implants so she cannot hear,” the complaint said.

In one instance, the girl told the staff member Beck grabbed her neck and choked her until she couldn’t breathe, the court document says.  The girl said the choking gave her a bruise and affected her sense of smell, the document says.

In another instance, she said Beck pulled her hair, slapped and threw toys at her face, the document says.

Both children also told the staff member, according to the court document, that while they lived in Arizona, Beck threw them both to the ground.  The boy’s head hit some rocks and his head began to bleed and one of the girl’s ankles was injured, the document says.
The children said they didn’t receive medical attention for their injuries and the girl couldn’t walk on the ankle for a few days, the probable cause statement says.

The boy also said Beck “likes to cause him pain,” the court document states.

Both children said Beck encourages the three younger children to mistreat them, too, by hurting them physically or calling them derogatory names, according to the court document.

TX Hazing – Sexual Assault Draws Expulsions

.jpg photo of Superintendent of La Vernia Tx Schools
Superintendent Jose Moreno said that La Vernia is “deeply committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all its students.”

La Vernia ISD upholds expulsion of 2
students accused of sexual assault

LA VERNIA, TX  –  The La Vernia Independent School District upheld on Tuesday the expulsion of two students who have been accused of sexual assault, while two other students preemptively withdrew their appeals.

After holding hearings and deliberating in closed session for 2½ hours, the board of trustees unanimously voted to send two students to a disciplinary alternative education program outside of the district.  La Vernia ISD currently contracts with Nixon-Smiley Consolidated Independent School District for DAEP placements.  If the students do not enroll in that program by May 1, they can enroll in a juvenile justice alternative program run by Floresville Independent School District.

Originally, the board was going to consider appeals for four students, but two students withdrew their appeals just before the meeting began, opting instead to accept the district’s decision by default.  Those students have the same options for continuing their educations as the two students whose appeals were denied.

The four students, who were identified only by their initials — K.H., Z.S., P.B. and R.P. — are among the 13 students who have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into hazing and sexual assault accusations at La Vernia High School.  None of the initials match the six adult students who have been charged so far with sexual assault.

Previously, attorneys for Dustin Norman, one of the students charged as an adult, criticized the district’s handling of due process and claimed that Norman had not been given an appeals hearing.

Superintendent Jose Moreno said in a statement that La Vernia is “deeply committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all its students.”  Before adjourning the meeting at 8:05 p.m., he said he would look into the possibility of hiring a campus police officer, at the request of a board member.

“I believe the board has taken all the information they were provided and made a sound decision based on what they believe was right,” Moreno said.

“The board’s decision, while a difficult one, gives the students a path forward to complete their credits and graduate,” Moreno said.

Since the arrests, the middle school and high school students have participated in Rachel’s Challenge, a program aimed at reducing bullying, harassment and violence in schools.  Moreno said he has also met with the parents of athletes to discuss their concerns.

So far, authorities have arrested six adult and seven minor students in connection with allegations of systemic hazing within the high school’s football, basketball and baseball teams.  Earlier this month, the family of one of the victims filed a lawsuit against the district and school staff, alleging their son had been repeatedly assaulted by football teammates over a period of three years.

The Texas Rangers have taken the lead on the investigation, which remains ongoing.  Officers have established a presence at the school as they conduct interviews with students.

Shot Fired Into AR Womans Car

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A man started honking his horn,then got out and fired into the woman’s car.

Toddler killed in Arkansas road rage incident

Little Rock, AR  –  A manhunt is underway in Little Rock, Arkansas, after a 3-year-old boy on a shopping trip with his grandmother was shot and killed during an apparent road rage incident, police said.

A motorist behind the woman Saturday evening grew agitated that she was not moving quickly enough, Little Rock Police Department spokesman Lt. Steven McClanahan said.

The man started honking his horn.  He got out of his car and fired into the woman’s car, police said.

“One shot was fired and it went through the vehicle and hit the child,” McClanahan said Sunday.

Police have not released the victim’s identity.

Officers believe the incident occurred on the city’s southwest side. The grandmother was at a stop sign at Mabelvale Cut Off Road and Warren Drive when a confrontation ensued, police said.

Not realizing that the child had been hit, the woman later drove to a JC Penney in west Little Rock.  Police received a call shortly before 6:30 p.m. that a child passenger had been shot.

The boy was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  A 1-year-old child was also in the car at the time of the shooting, according to a police report.

Police said the grandmother and the slain boy had no relationship with the suspect.

“I certainly have no information to say that anyone in this family has done anything to cause this young person’s life,” Little Rock Police Department Chief Kenton Buckner told CNN affiliate KARK.  “But this is about as frustrating as you can be as a public safety official or just a plain citizen.”

No arrests have been made yet.  Crime Stoppers is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, Little Rock police tweeted Sunday.

Homicide detectives are conducting an investigation.

The fatal shooting marks Little Rock’s 40th homicide of the year, police said.  Last year, there were 31 homicides in Little Rock.