Bullying Still a Prominent Issue for One Northland Family

By KBJR News 1

March 15, 2013 Updated Mar 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM CDT

International Falls, MN (NNCNOW.com) - According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, bulling in schools has been declining over the past 10 years.

One family in Internatioal Falls is seeing the problem first hand and doing their best to combat the issue.

For most kids the playground is a place to have fun and be with friends; but for one nine year old, it's a fearful place.

"We was coming home with his pants ripped all the way up the leg," said his father.

Nick is a third grader at Falls Elementary School and has been the victim of bullying due to social issues brought about by aspergers syndrome.

"Some of his conditions... when he talks with his hands and he rubs his hands through his hair and he doesn't like to look directly at people when he talks, so I think it kind of makes him a target sometimes," said John Decker.

The Deckers have been dealing with bullying issues for a few years now, and have written many letters to the school wondering why these problems keep occurring.

"It's an on-going process and it takes a lot of personal time, from our personal in a district to monitor that and do the investigations," said Nordy Nelson, the superintendent of International Falls School District.

Even so, the Decker's have requested that the school implement what's called a 504 plan, a provision under Federal Civil Rights legislation, to help keep Nick protected.

The plan prohibits discrimination against kids who have disabilities and draws out a plan that includes includes extra monitoring, documentation of bullying incidents, and opens communication between the school and the district.

"We just hope a month from now those things are still in place and minimized the risk of Nick being bullied or harassed actually again," said Nick's Dad.

The Decker's say they'll continue to help be part of the solution to stop bullying of their son and other kids at school.

A new bill advocating for safe and supportive schools is in the Minnesota House and would ban bullying in Minnesota schools.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com