School Sets Social Distancing Guidelines for Bullying

As schools get ready to reconvene amid the coronavirus pandemic, one town is addressing an issue not covered by CDC guidelines.

Karen Weathers had a tear in her eye when she addressed the Rankin Township School Board in Ohio last Wednesday. Her son, who is about to begin eighth grade, is part of a growing group of children that fall victim to constant bullying by other students.

“It started with shoving and knocking books out his hands when Devin was in kindergarten,” Weathers said. “When he entered middle school, that’s when Devin started spending time inside his locker.”

Weathers says it became a daily occurrence. Sometimes it’s one of the football player bullies who shoves the boy inside, while other times it’s a group of “loud, bossy girls.”

Weathers was joined by other moms who are equally concerned. “We have gotten used to the missed classwork due to our kids being temporarily confined to lockers, but now we are facing a new threat,” said Karen Michaels, whose son is repeating seventh grade for the third time. “One kid stuffed into a locker is one thing, but when you start putting two or more in the same locker, there is no way these children can practice safe social distancing.”

Their cries did not fall on deaf ears. After a ten minute recess, the Board decided to add two new items to their already long list of coronavirus safety precautions.

Beginning this September, bullies will be limited to placing one child per locker. Additionally, the Board is requiring a four locker distance between stuffed children.

“This exceeded my expectations,” Weathers said. “Now Devin and the other children can be bullied without the fear of catching covid.”