Independence family frustrated with school district after child - KCTV5

Independence family frustrated with school district after child is repeatedly bullied

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

An Independence family says it cannot get the school district to stop bullies from attacking their son. 

An 11-year-old boy says he's endured physical and emotional bullying for months. His parents say they've tried everything to keep him safe, but he's afraid to go to school. 

"Steven was in a full panic," said Diana Murray, Steven's mother. 

Murray says it started last November when they received a call from a parent who saw their son getting beat up on his walk home from William Southern Elementary School in Independence. 

"He was in complete hysterics," Murray said. "We called and had the police there - he was escorted to Children's Mercy."

The family filed a police report and documented what happened with photos. Bruises can be seen on his back and ribs. 

Since then, the family says despite a no contact agreement with the school district, he's continued to have trouble with the same bullies. It's now followed him to summer school at James Bridge Junior High School. 

"You send a kid to school and he comes home and tells you he doesn't feel safe at school," said John Murray, Steven's stepdad. "It just...it hurts."

They say the school district established a bus safety plan with the school, but it didn't work. According to a police report from June 13, a girl kicked him on the bus. 

"He's still getting hurt," Diana Murray said. "They're not enforcing it." 

The family says a week after that incident, the school issued another no contact agreement. However, the family is unsure if it will work. 

"No, it didn't work the last time," said John Murray. 

Anti-bullying advocate Tina Meier is skeptical of no contact agreements. 

Meier recommends to write a formal request to the school for a sit-down meeting and at that meeting, share documentation, including any witnesses, doctor's notes and police reports. 

Meier also said all parties need to focus on one key question: What can be done to keep a child safe in school, both physical and emotionally? 

"I'm disappointed... that they can't protect my kid," Diana Murray said. "That's their job. As a parent, you send your kid to school thinking OK, this is a safe place. Clearly it's not." 

Meier says it's common to see tension grow between parents and school districts as they try to deal with the tough issue of bullying.

She says don't give up and keep trying to work as a team because at the end of the day, everyone can agree - no child should feel unsafe in school.

KCTV5 reached out to the school district for a response. They say they are limited in what they can say by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. 

But they said they take student safety very seriously and have worked closely with this student and his family. 

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