Red Lake Falls parent seeks school action after son is urinated on by another student
A parent has pulled his children out of a Red Lake Falls, Minn., elementary school and is asking for officials to take action after his son was urinated on by another student, he told the Herald on Friday.
Brandeis Olberg's son, a J.A. Hughes Elementary second-grader, told his parents he was using the restroom Tuesday afternoon when four older students walked in. One of the students "stood on my son like he was the urinal and finished peeing on him," Olberg said.
That was bad enough, he said, but what school officials did and did not do after it happened was also harmful to his child, he said. Olberg said he wants the alleged bully to be punished and thinks the school should establish tougher anti-bullying policies, which he will ask for at Monday's School Board meeting.
"As a whole, I just don't want this to happen to anybody else," Olberg said.
Olberg said the incident happened about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, but school officials never took charge of the situation. His son changed his own shirt, he said, and put the dirty shirt in his locker.
The boy told his teacher about the bullying and was then sent to the principal's office, he said.
"He was questioned if he really even got peed on," Olberg said. "And then they sent him back to class without washing him up."
Olberg didn't find out about it until school officials called at 3 p.m. By then, his son was already on a school bus heading home.
"They just sent him on the bus," he said. "They should have told us right away."
Olberg and his wife, Sheila, brought their son into the school the next day to ask school officials how they would respond to the incident. But no action was taken, Olberg said.
Olberg said Superintendent Joel Young did visit his house Wednesday to figure out the next steps.
Young told the Herald the incident is under investigation, adding student data privacy laws prohibit him from disclosing more information.
"What I can tell you is we are working on it according to policy and state laws," Young said.
The school's student handbook lists bullying as one of 14 "unacceptable behaviors." Potential consequences include suspension, expulsion and referral to law enforcement agencies, as well as several lesser punishments such as detention or loss of school privileges.
Olberg said he talked with the Polk County attorney and sheriff's office, who both indicated charges will not be filed.
"That's why I'm where I'm at with talking to everybody else," he said about contacting the media Friday. "Kids shouldn't be a urinal for other kids."
His son is feeling a little better but is still stressed out and scared to go to school or use the bathroom after the incident, Olberg said. His son has since told him about previous bullying incidents at the school, but it's hard for him to say anything about it.
The school should press charges against the bully, Olberg said, or at least figure out who did it and determine an appropriate punishment.
"When things do happen, they should be handled in the correct manner and procedure because none of that happened right," he said. "He should have been cleaned up on the spot, not just told to wash up by himself."
And the boy who bullied his son "needs to know that he did wrong," Olberg said, and should talk to somebody about his actions.
He pulled his two children, both elementary students, out of the school for the rest of the year. But they may return in the fall if school officials take appropriate action and pass a zero-tolerance bullying policy, Olberg said.
"I'll see how this all goes and if we're not kind of alienated and shunned by the community after all this."
Johnson reports on local K-12 education. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.