GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Nearly a year after a former Germantown Municipal School District student broke his silence after years of bullying, school officials are training staff in a widely researched prevention program.
Then 16-year-old Jacob Vincent spoke at a Germantown Board of Education meeting last May describing disturbing assaults.
“There was a lot of abuse online on social media that included threats by certain students and athletes that were telling me to…kill myself,” shared Vincent.
The student says in seventh grade, a Houston Middle School student hit him with a basketball, which knocked him unconscious.
His mother Lori Vincent, also spoke at the May 2018 meeting. She was not the only parent who expressed concerns about the district’s handling after reports of bullying.vThis year, the district is implementing Olweus, a bullying prevention program.
“It’s about identification, it’s about teacher and student staff training,” said Superintendent Jason Manuel.
The program will be used K-12 beginning in the fall of 2019.
“We’re looking to identify students or signs or symptoms that may really help us identify and prevent cases of bullying,” said Manuel.
All staff, such as bus drivers, teachers and counselors, will be trained to prevent cases like what happened to Jacob.
“When we brought the names to the school, they said that they knew who these kids were and certainly our interpretation of that conversation was that this was not the first time they’d heard these names,” shared Mrs. Vincent.
Monday marked Jacob’s 17th birthday, he’s now a junior at Christian Brothers High School and active in student council. He now shares how he overcame cyberbullying.
“If in sharing his story and talking to us and talking to others about it it’s helped even one kids then that’s served his purpose,” said Mrs. Vincent.
Jacob’s family says he switched schools to get away from the bullying. His mother tells Local 24 she isn’t convinced Houston Middle School followed its own bullying policy at the time.
Ms. Vincent hopes the new anti-bullying program will save other families the pain they went through. She also says after requesting documents from GMSD about Jacob’s case, not all the incidents they provided were detailed.