Bay grads tale illustrates persistent bullying problem

first_imgOne day they were friends sharing classes, working together at school activities.The next, Lindsey Elhart became the target of her classmate’s relentless harassment. She called Elhart “slut,” “whore.” She made snarky comments about the clothes Elhart wore. Threatening voice mails and text messages from blocked phone numbers flooded Elhart’s cell phone. Her parents’ home was covered with toilet paper in the middle of the night numerous times.Elhart’s friends turned on her for fear of becoming the girl’s next target. Others knew of what was happening but stayed quiet. That, Elhart said, includes school administrators — a claim the district denies.“A majority of the school knew how hurtful she was and a majority of the school just saw me take it because there was nothing else they could do for me,” Elhart, now 19, said of her senior year at Hudson’s Bay High School.When Elhart walked through the high school’s doors, she felt alone. But statistics prove she’s only one example of a widespread problem.During the 2008-09 school year, more than 15,000 students in the state were suspended and 442 expelled for bullying, harassment and intimidation. In Clark County, 115 students were expelled for the offenses — more than the more populous King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties — and 1,411 served suspensions.Local and state officials don’t have any hard evidence as to why the number of students suspended and expelled for bullying is higher in Clark County. However, multiple people interviewed by The Columbian speculated as to what the cause may be. Perhaps Clark County school administrators are more diligent in handling complaints and enforcing district policies. Maybe districts in other counties emphasize more on the prevention and intervention, thus nipping the problem in the bud before it leads to expulsion. On the other hand, Clark County could simply have more kids bullying each other.last_img

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