By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -
You often think of bullies as students picking on students, but that isn't always the case. One Johnson County student shares his story and what he did to prevent anyone else from going through what he did.
The alleged bullying began in a fifth-grade class at Rising Star Elementary in Lenexa, KS. But it wasn't one student attacking another, the victim said it was his own teacher dishing out the abuse.
It was a case so rare he had to turn to local lawmakers for help.
Loren Wendelburg, 15, of Shawnee, KS, is home–schooled now, but that wasn't always the case. He was a happy student at Rising Star Elementary until he said his fifth-grade teacher began abusing him.
"I was bullied by my fifth-grade teacher, she grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me into the hall. One day she pulled a desk from out underneath me. She told me I would never amount to anything," he said.
Just 10 years old at the time, Loren said he was too afraid to tell anyone. He was convinced they would never take his word over that of a teacher's. But soon, he said, the abuse began to take a toll on his emotional well-being.
"I think one time my mom had to hide the kitchen knives away from me because I thought about stabbing myself," he said.
Loren's mother soon heard about the allegations and called in the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
A report shows their investigation turned up evidence that the teacher's actions inflicted mental or emotional injury, but his mother was shocked to hear they couldn't do much in terms of punishment.
"There is no policy, there is no law in place in the school district or the state of Kansas that says a teacher cannot bully or even physically and emotionally abuse a child," Lisa Wendelburg said.
The mother decided to reach out to area lawmakers hoping to get the change needed to protect other children.
Loren testified in Topeka and, after a lot of hard work, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will be signing House Bill 2261 or Loren's Law on Friday. The law helps transform the definition of bullying to include threats made by teachers or faculty members toward students.
"A teacher will never bully another student again," Loren said.
The Shawnee Mission School District released a statement about the allegations, saying "The Shawnee Mission School District is well aware of the claims made by Lisa Wendelburg. They were the subject of a state due process hearing, as well as a lawsuit filed in Johnson County District Court. Mrs. Wendelburg's claims did not prevail in either forum. The Shawnee Mission School District takes bullying very seriously and would not protect a teacher it believed to be a bully."
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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