Ruskin parents start petition to stop 'out of control' middle school bullying

- According to a petition circulating this week, bullying is "out of control" at Shields Middle School in Ruskin.

The online petition has nearly 100 signatures and dozens of comments where people who appear to be parents are sharing their stories of bullying involving their children.

"[My son] got off the bus, these two kids pushed him down, kicked him, broke his glasses," one parent, who didn't want to be identified for fear of retribution against her child, told FOX 13.

The petition says the school's administration is not doing enough to stop the bullying going on at the school.

Administrators don't believe the school has a bullying problem. They say each report of bullying is investigated fully and either substantiated or unsubstatiated. If the incidents involved student misconduct cases in both categories are addressed.

Assistant Principal Colleen Carr says parents may get the impression bullies are not being punished simply because the law prohibits school leaders from sharing specifics about the consequences with the parents of the bullying victims.

Carr and school district administrators cast doubt on whether the instances shared in the petition had been officially reported to the school.

Parents told FOX 13 some of their reports have gone unaddressed.

Carr says bullying is always taken seriously. The school combats bullying by showing public service announcements, placing boxes around campus where students can anonymously report incidents and educating students about tolerance and acceptance.

"We are really trying to change the culture for one of acceptance and tolerance here at Shields," said Carr.

School officials say there are several ways to report bullying, including on the school district's bullying page on its website, by calling the school directly or even reporting to CrimeStoppers.

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