Hayward senior shares his experiences of bullying

By KBJR News 1

February 11, 2014 Updated Feb 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM CDT

Hayward, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- A high school senior in a relatively small school in Northwest Wisconsin says like many teenagers, he has experienced bullying.

During a high school hockey game on Tuesday night, Michael Braatz found a derogatory word written in the snow on his car; and that word hit close to home.

"It stings, it's not something you look forward to seeing when you go out to your car. I mean you kind of sigh for a second and think about things and try to brush it off, literally," said Braatz.

Michael came out in May of 2012 and says this is not the first time something like this has happened.

"I think I'm targeted because I'm vocal about it, I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to hide it."

Even though this latest incident happened outside of school hours, Hayward school administrators say they do not take bullying, in or out of the school, lightly.

"We take a very aggressive approach to it. As soon as we get information we are digging into it, getting the kids in talking to them, finding out as much information as we can," said Principal of the high school, Todd Johnson.

He says the administration encourages students to talk to faculty and staff about bullying. If a student comes in multiple times for bullying, they take action.

"If they don't stop it the resource officer gets involved and there is detention. If they are sitting here for a fourth time, then we have a pre-expulsion meeting," said Johnson.

However, Braatz says more can be done by the administration to combat the problem.

"The other students in the school need to see that there is punishment happening," said Braatz. "They have to see that if they are doing these kinds of things that there is going to be consequences,"

Until then, Braatz hopes by sharing his story, others can be aware and take a stand against the problem.

"Ask anybody here, if someone calls someone a fa**ot in the hallway I will say, 'can you please not say that.' I think it would help if more people stepped up and did that."

The high school has set up an anonymous tip line through their website called "Report Like a Cane."

The comments are submitted to a school counselor who can than investigate any issue students may have.

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