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Another Lisbon parent complains child bullied without response

November 8, 2012
Morning Journal News

LISBON - Another parent has come forward to criticize the Lisbon school board for failing to do enough to prevent her child from being bullied.

Speaking at this week's board meeting, Debbie Borg expressed her sympathy with the mothers of two fifth-grade boys who attended the October meeting. Those mothers said the administration has failed to take appropriate steps to protect their sons from a classmate who they say has repeatedly threatened to kill them and their families.

Borg said her son, who graduated last year, was bullied by a classmate during his entire four years in high school, and the administration did nothing. "After being harassed and made fun of for the past four years by the same individual, he found his breaking point," she said.

The "breaking point" was a "horrible, degrading" posting on Facebook by the classmate. Borg said her son told a teacher, who ignored his complaint. She said her son later confronted the classmate about the posting, and the classmate laughed and then assumed a confrontational stance.

Borg said that, "after years of bullying an intimidation and getting no support from the school," her son punched the classmate and was suspended. The fifth-grade students referred to last month were also disciplined after a teacher overheard them make fun of their alleged tormentor (outside his presence) and saying they wish they could kill him.

Borg said she spoke at length with high school Principal Joe Siefke about bullying issues in the schools, telling him she was worried someday a student might commit suicide or bring a gun to school to kill classmates.

"His comment to me was, 'Debbie, I consider this village the same as Mayberry, and nothing ever happens in Mayberry,'" she said, referring to the fictional town in the popular Andy Griffith television show from the 1960s.

"I couldn't believe actually said that to me. He must have forgotten a few years back when a fifth-grader brought a gun to school and held his teacher ... and a classroom full of classmates at gunpoint," Borg said. "Someone needs to remind Mr. Siefke that Mayberry is a town on a TV show, and that Lisbon is a real town with real problems."

Board President Jim Smith thanked Borg for her comments and said they would take her comments under advisement, which is the same response provided to the two mothers last month. The board, like most, rarely comments publicly on matters of this sort, which are usually handled internally.



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