Next Polk County School Board meeting may address bullying

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Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the Polk County School Board will host a workshop with parents of students at Medulla Elementary School to address bullying concerns at the school. There is no scheduled workshop or meeting to address the topic.

Last month, parents of students at Medulla Elementary School brought concerns over a possible “bullying problem” at Medulla Elementary School in Lakeland -- a problem the principal has said doesn’t exist. The first Polk County School Board meeting since then will be held Tuesday.

Prior to the meeting, a workshop will be held Tuesday 12:30 p.m. A spokesperson for the school district said the topic of bullying may come up during that time, but that meeting is closed to the public. However, parents or community members who wish to comment on bullying must do so during the public comment portion of the board's 5:30 p.m. general meeting.

Parents have said their children have returned home after school with cuts, scrapes and bruises. In one case, a second-grader returned home with a bruise on her neck.  The child’s grandmother, Tracey Dannemille, told FOX 13 that her grandchild told her another student struck her.

“And the principal stated, ‘I can’t say if she did or didn’t do this herself,’” said Lesley Clementi, the girl’s mother.

PREVIOUS: Polk County School Board vows to address Medulla bullying concerns

Similar stories among other Medulla Elementary parents came out during a school board meeting last month. Parents were mainly raising issues with how the bullying reports were handled. 

The principal, Myra Richardson, tried to reassure parents with a letter last month detailing how bullying allegations are handled and what to do if you suspect your child is being bullied. However, parents said it isn’t enough. 

“The reason there’s no widespread bullying at Medulla Elementary is because the events are not being reported,” explained Heather Brenneman, a parent. “Instead, they’re quietly taken care of.”

LINK: If you have a student in Polk County and you think there could be some bullying happening, you can make a full report on the bullying tab of the district website.