Tori Swanson
Bullying Survivor
Female | Bradford, ON   Canada
Kane High student fights back against bullying
Bullying Type: Physical / Emotional
Posted By: AllCourage
4/21/14 10:36 AM
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Kane Area High School freshman Tori Swanson was almost a victim.

Almost.

Swanson has been dealing with a bullying problem since she was in the fifth grade. She has been assaulted, pushed down the stairs, and has even come home with a black eye. However, if she retaliates, Swanson is the one who winds up in trouble.

In March, Swanson was met by five female Kane High classmates, many of whom were on the basketball and track and field teams, calling her worthless and telling her to kill herself.

On March 31, after years of merciless bullying by some of her classmates, her anxiety got to be too much for her to deal with. Swanson decided to take her own life. However, thanks to a change of heart, along with a quick reaction by her grandfather and the staffs of several area hospitals, she is not a victim but rather a survivor.

Swanson said the incidents of bullying usually went undetected by the Kane High basketball coaches because the perpetrators would wait until the coaches were sufficiently distracted to bully not only Swanson but also several other members of the junior varsity basketball team as well.

The topic of bullying has been brought up at several Kane Area School Board meetings, including a meeting on March 19 during which the school district’s community outreach committee devoted to discussing the problem with concerned parents, students and citizens, approximately a week and a half before Swanson’s suicide attempt.

Swanson, however, is making the most of her second chance on life by coming out as an advocate for those being bullied. She said that one way to combat the problem is educating school children while they’re still at the primary level.

“I think the school itself has to catch it at a young age,” Swanson said. “From what I’ve noticed, when I was in elementary school, when kids saw that they could get away with it, they would continue to do it until they were caught, and even after they were caught, it was almost a habit to them.”

Swanson acknowledged that teachers, coaches and administration have a difficult job at handling bullying. She said that since most children wait until the staff are not watching to bully someone, it is not an easy task to address. However, Swanson would like to see the staff give more consideration to students when they report bullying to a teacher.

“I’ve reported it multiple times,” Swanson said. “Because the other person said they didn’t (bully me), they automatically believe that.”

School board member Susan Grolemund said it is difficult for a teacher to enforce bullying. Grolemund said that sometimes when students are taken to task for bullying, parents complain that the teachers should not be addressing the issue with their children. However, she said the same parents seldom do anything to address the problem at home.

Grolemund also said due to student privacy laws, parents of the victims are not allowed to know either who was bullying their child or the outcome of the disciplinary measures taken against the perpetrator. She said the only thing the administration can say is “we’re taking care of it.”

However, Grolemund also acknowledged that bullying could be construed as a “gray area,” as bullying to some students could be horseplay to others. She said that parents need to encourage their children to walk away at any point where they think they are getting bullied.

Grolemund said that it is still unclear whether or not social issues should be taught at school or at home. She said that if these social issues were taught at school, it would be difficult to find a spot in the curriculum where they would be placed.

School district policy No. 249 addresses bullying directly, stating, “bullying means an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act or series of acts directed at another student or students, which occurs in a school setting that is severe, persistent or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following: Substantial interference with a student’s education, creation of a threatening environment, or substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school.” The policy also states that cyberbullying is included in this definition.

The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 8.





http://www.bradfordera.com/news/article_c09e7e2c-c8fc-11e3-8497-001a4bcf887a.html



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Name: Tori Swanson
Age: N/A
Country: Canada
Location: Bradford, ON
Gender: Female
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