Sun Prairie parents demand answers about school bullying policy

SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — At Monday’s Sun Prairie school board meeting, about a dozen parents came seeking answers regarding the district’s bullying policy.

Kris Ganske led the charge.

“I want them to own the fact that there is an issue,” she said.

The Sun Prairie mother of four said her passion started after her 8th grade daughter told her about a bully in her school.

“It’s gotten to the point where she’s afraid to go to the bathroom,” Ganske said. “She’s afraid to walk the halls.”

Ganske said she tried to follow up with the district but she wasn’t seeing any progress.

“I repeatedly made phone calls, emails to the superintendent, to the principal with no responses and it took me going to social media and just blowing it up for the superintendent’s secretary to call me and request a meeting with me,” she said.

By that point, Ganske said she had attracted the attention of other parents, like Chuck Karabin. He said his children have already graduated but as a frequent volunteer in the schools, he’s concerned with the bullying reports he’s heard and what he calls a lack of transparency from the district.

“Just tell us what’s going on,” he said.

Ganske said other parents have reached out to her to tell their own bullying stories, inspiring her to start aFacebook groupto organize for change.

“Obviously him on his own, me on my own, and all the other parents who’ve tried to go, we’re not getting anywhere on our own,” she said.

Monday’s board meeting was one of their first attempts to speak directly to the district about their bullying policy.

“Show us that it’s working and if now, we’d like to keep encouraging them to find and experiment with other solutions,” Karabin said.

The board couldn’t respond directly to their questions because the issue was not on the agenda. Instead, the district issued a statement with links to Sun Prairie’spoliciesandproceduressurrounding bullying.

As for the claim the district isn’t doing anything to respond to instances of bullying, the statement said in part, “…In almost all instances, consequences are not able to be shared with others in order to protect student privacy. This can be perceived as us ‘doing nothing about it.'”

The superintendent and all of the board members declined interviews regarding the parent’s statements.

While she didn’t get the answers she was hoping for, Ganske said she’s still optimistic the parents will make an impact as their efforts continue.

“I want to be able to go home to my daughter and say ‘hey, I think we’re making a difference, I think it’s going to be a safer place for you,'” she said.

Ganske said the parents plan to attend more board meetings and holding forums of their own specific to this topic, inviting board members to come to them.

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