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Parent says bullying incident at northwest side school was not isolated incident

Posted at 5:22 PM, Oct 03, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — A 10-year-old boy spent several days in the hospital last week after he was beaten up on the school bus at Ignite Achievement Academy, and another parent has come forward saying it was not an isolated incident.

Mackenzie Craig is the second parent to come forward this week saying her child is being bullied at Ignite Achievement Academy on the northwest side.

"I thought that what my children were going through was these isolated incidents," Craig said. "To come to find out, it's just not my children that are suffering."

Craig said she has been working with the school since last year to try to make things better for her 8-year-old son, Victor. She worries that school is not properly recording or reporting the issues.

"Wondering if someone's going to shove you in the hall. Push you to the ground. Trip you while you're in the bathroom. Throw things at you. All these things are the things that especially my son encountered to the point where he felt the need to say he wanted to harm himself. He was seven. I can't express to you how heartbreaking it is to hear my 7-year-old say that he doesn't want to be here anymore based on what he's dealing with at school," Craig said.

Craig also said her son was slapped on both sides of his face while sitting directly behind the bus driver.

"No one saw anything," she said. "I asked them for the incident report. Well there was none. There was no report done."

Schools are obligated to report to the state anything that meets the definition of bullying, which says it must be repeated acts or gestures. For the 2018-2019 school year, Ignite Achievement Academy reported two instances of physical bullying and zero cases verbal or electronic bullying.

"To my knowledge, any time a child is injured there should be an incident report done. And it's not? It's not being done," Craig said.

In a statement, Ignite Achievement Academy said it "considers the safety and security of all staff and students a top concern. Daily we work to make sure that the trauma students suffer away from school doesn't prevent their ability to excel at school. We are never at liberty to speak regarding any specific student situations."

We also asked the school what their bullying policy is, how they work to prevent bullying and if its staff or students undergo any bully prevention training. None of those questions were answered Thursday, but RTV6 is committed to holding schools accountable.

A Call 6 investigation in 2017 by Kara Kenney found 60 percent of schools reported zero bullying incidents for that school year. The story quoted parents who had reported bullying at some of those schools.

Following the investigation, state legislators passed a law that requires the Indiana Department of Education to remind schools they are required to report bullying. This year, 100% of schools submitted bullying reports.

"There needs to be a change. If nothing else, follow your protocol, follow your procedures, touch base with parents," Craig said. "It just makes me feel anxious throughout the day. Are they OK? Is my son being picked on today? Is he being bullied? Are they telling me the truth?”