MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This month puts the spotlight on raising awareness of bullying — and two Minnesota moms are continuing to fight for changes after a video of a high school bully attack went viral.
A Princeton High School student was locked inside an apartment for two hours last year, as another student forced her to fight.
WCCO reported how the school was criticized for not doing enough to prevent it.
Kids watched and went on social media as a high school senior tried to get a freshman to fight. The trouble started days earlier at Princeton High.
“We had people on social media coming out of the woodwork just in our community alone,” said Josi Fjeld, the mother of the victim’s friend.
Still, the school said in that situation there was not much they could do since the fight happened off their property.
The Minnesota Department of Education would also find the district in compliance with their bullying policies in place at the time.
“People need to be a voice for these kids,” she said.
Fjeld has been one of those voices ever since, helping to craft new language to Princeton’s student discipline policy to include “threats” and “harassment” as bullying.
District administration and staff went through anti-bullying and harassment training at the beginning of the school year.
“It’s just a matter of now they have the wording there, but will they act upon it?” Fjeld said.
Some Princeton parents want even more to change, looking to cities in Wisconsin and New York who now put the blame on parents if their kids bully. They are facing fines or even jail time.
“The parents need to be held accountable if the parents aren’t going to discipline their children,” Fjeld said. “It’s a community effort to get people to feel comfortable and safe and everyone has that right.”
The girl in the video seen punching and kicking was charged with a crime and sentenced to community service and mandatory counseling.
Fjeld is one mom who now reaches out to other families across the state who find themselves dealing with a school bully, helping them to navigate what can be a complex system.
They have also met with local and state lawmakers over the past few months, pushing for more to change.