Wentzville school parents come forward after video of daughter being bullied sparks rage in community
The parents are asking school leaders to step in.
WENTZVILLE (KMOV) - Over the last 24 hours, parents in the Wentzville School District have said they’re “embarrassed” and “infuriated” with school leaders. All of this stemmed from a video showing a bullying incident that happened inside Wentzville Middle School on Tuesday. News 4 talked to the parents involved in the situation and others who claim the district has swept bullying under the rug for years.
It’s a 36 second video that was taken Tuesday during a lunch hour at Wentzville Middle School. It starts out with one student dumping chocolate milk on another student named Byata. Twenty-one seconds go by after that without any staff members intervening. Then, the student comes back and punches Byata in the head several times.
“For a school district to allow something like that to happen and not intervene right away or be aware that a situation like that is occurring, it’s mind baffling to me,” Melissa Alan said.
Alan is Byata’s mother. She and Byata’s father, Paul Tripp, told News 4 this isn’t the first instance of bullying involving their daughter.
“This isn’t the first time. I’ve gotten calls from him [Tripp] once a week the last couple weeks,” Alan explained.
“Two weeks ago, she accidentally stepped on a girl’s shoe, the girl punched her in the head over and over again as she ran down the hallway,” Tripp explained.
Alan and Tripp said they’ve been to Wentzville Middle School and talked with school leaders several times about ongoing bullying involving their daughter. The video from Tuesday, which has been posted on social media, caused a stir among Wentzville parents. Many said the school hasn’t taken bullying seriously for years.
“There’s just not enough discipline for the minor stuff that’s leading to bigger issues,” Alan explained.
One parent, who said he knows bullying within the district well, said he wasn’t surprised to see this video from Tuesday surface.
“When I saw that, you know, I posted it and said ‘I guess things aren’t changing’,” Patrick Vining said.
Vining has a junior at Wentzville High School. In 2019, as Vining’s son Ian sat on the floor of his 8th grade classroom, a student approached him and punched him in the head several times.
“As a parent, no one wants to see their child go through that,” Vining added.
Vining said he got an attorney involved because the school wasn’t taking the incident seriously. Now, he, Alan, Tripp and other parents are begging school leaders to take action and make changes.
“What’s not going to work is to try to badger the parents, or push something down that’s not happening. We need to bring this to light. We need more people to come out and share their stories,” Vining said.
Alan and Tripp echoed that, saying they plan to go to the next school board meeting to have these issues addressed.
“I just hope that proper measurements are taken to keep our kids safe,” Alan said.
Tripp and Alan told News 4 they’re pressing charges against the student who poured milk and repeatedly punched their daughter. News 4 asked school leaders to address this incident and others during an on-camera interview. They declined but sent this statement:
“We had staff supervising the incident that occurred yesterday at lunch. We do not tolerate this type of behavior in our schools. Our team has completed its investigation and appropriate discipline has been given. The Wentzville School District works hard to create a space that is safe for learning, and we will continue to prioritize students’ well-being as we head into summer.”
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