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'It's for the Kids': D159 Parent Rallies for Better Anti-Bullying Policy

Heidi Yergler Herrmann, a stay-at-home mom, found out her fourth-grader was being bullied at school and now she wants it to stop. Not only for her daughter, but for all the children in the district.

mom Heidi Yergler Herrmann doesn't want to take any chances. Bullying at school isn't something to be taken lightly, and she worries that's exactly how the district handles it. Herrmann's daughter spoke of bullying in school this year—and in her voice, Herrmann heard a call to action.

Herrmann recently started a Facebook group to unite parents looking to make a change in the way the school district handles bullying. 

Although her efforts stem from her daughter's troubles this year, Herrmann said it isn't just about her child—it's about all of them. She added that although she is a stay-at-home mother with no background in anti-bullying, she is willing to learn.

“I'm willing to investigate programs, to do the research,” she said. “I'm not a professional in this area, but I can do the work, it's for the kids.”

Superintdent Steve Stein says the district has offered some anti-bullying programs already. The district brought to the junior high level, sharing the story of a Columbine victim and her compassion for others. However, Stein said that there is not a specific anti-bullying, program in place in the younger grades—yet. Instead of labeling programs or concepts as anti-bullying, district administration currently focuses on shaping students with “pro-social types of behaviors.

“It's how you interact with your peers, it's how you interact with adults in the building,” Stein said. “A lot of times it's not only just what we say, but how we say it. That concept of the 'Golden Rule,' treat others as you would want to be treated, those types of things.”

He added that it is a “slam-dunk kind of concept,” that Rachel's Challenge, or something similar for anti-bullying, will be in place at the lower grades soon.

For Herrmann though, the district planning to add to or amend the current policy on bullying or harassment isn't enough.

For their part, Stein said he and adminstrators are always open to parent interaction with school programs.

“I certainly welcome any parental support for any of the programs that we have, anti-bully or anything,” Stein said, adding, “I certainly welcome any thoughts or ideas that parent groups have.”

Herrmann has plans to address the Mokena 159 Board of Education at its next meeting, June 20.

Hannah O'Dell June 06, 2012 at 11:06 PM
hi this year I was being by this boy. named******he bullied me every day.my teacher did nothing. this year I was a peer mediator I asked mr .mcgreal. for advice to deal with this kid. in the last week of school I asked to see Mrs. biddenger the social worker. I would come home in tears. and know I can still cry about it .he has a friend who is the owners son of all American pet gromer. but the school did nothing apsulutley nothing.
Kim McAuliffe June 07, 2012 at 02:08 PM
hannah, First , I am so sorry to hear about you being bullied. Remember the bullies are just trying to make themselves feel better about themselves by picking on other people. They must be difficient in some way. Talk to your parent or parents. All of you need to go to the school NOW! email principles teachers superintendants. Go to the SCHOOL BOARD!! Do not take that CRAP the bully is dishing out. They can be kicked out of school for up to 1 year. Then the parents have to pay for private school. maybe then they will contain the animals! Do not be a victim! You have more rights than you know!!!!!!!! Go now! Administrations of schools are there all year long!. Please let me know how it goes! Be froceful direct & above all honets. You tell them you want punishment to fit the crime. small bullies grow up to be big bullies! Kim Mc
Kim McAuliffe June 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM
sorry I was so upset I spelled wrong! Be Forceful Direct & Above All Honest!!!
Ellis Worthington June 07, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Bullys? It's the parents of the bully. You will see them smiling when their kid knocks down another kid in preschool. They are making their kid tough for the world. Survival of the fittest and such. If your kid is getting hassled, find a coupe older, tougher kids to hang w/ your kid and 'tutor' him in self-preservation. Best $100 you've ever spent.
Kim McAuliffe June 07, 2012 at 03:00 PM
awesome ellis...I was trying to be politically correct with my answer. When I was bullied as a young child I stuck a pencil through the kids back she never bothered me again!

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