State says role in bullying cases is limited by current law


REPORTER: DELANIE MARCOTTE’S
FATHER TOLD NEWSNINE, THEY
NOTIFIED SCHOOL OFFICIALS AND
GOT NOWHERE, SO THEY TOOK IT UP
A LEVEL TO THE SCHOOL BOARD. TODAY THIS JOURNALIST GOT A
TASTE OF WHAT IT’S LIKE TO GET A
STRAIGHT ANSWER ABOUT BULLYING
IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. WHEN DELANIE MARCOTTE TESTIFED
ABOUT THE THREAT OF BEING SHOT
WITH AN AK 47 AND BURIED IN HER
BACKYARD, PEOPLE WERE SHOCKED,
BUT WHEN ASKED TODAY ABOUT HOW
THAT THREAT SHOULD BE HANDLED , THE STATE ADMITTED IT WAS NOT
AWARE OF THE PLAISTOW SITUATION
UNTIL WMUR COVERED IT YESTERDAY.>>THE ROLE OF THE STATE IS
LIMITED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. IT IS LOCAL CONTROL, THE
BULLYING LAW, AS IT IS KNOWN,
PUTS THE ONUS ON LOCAL SCHOOL
DISTRICTS, AND POLICIES. REPORTER: THE STATE DEPARTMENT
OF EDUCATION CALLED THE GUN
THREAT A POLICE ISSUE. SO NEWS 9 WENT TO POLICE. THE CHIEF SAID SHE WAS AWARE OF
THE THREAT, THOUGHT IT HAPPENED
MONTHS AGO AND CONFIRMED THEY
NEVER INVESTIGATED BECAUSE IT
WAS HANDLED AT THE SCHOOL LEVEL. BUT WAS IT?>>BULLYING IS A PROBLEM IN OUR
SCHOOL. I AM A VICTIM OF IT. MY PARENTS HAVE COME AND
CONTACTED THE SCHOOL ABOUT IT
BUT IT CONTINUES.>>IT MADE ME FEEL LIKE HE WAS
ACTUALLY GOING TO COME AFTER ME. REPORTER: TODAY, OUR PHONE CALLS
WERE NOT RETURNED. THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SAYS
BECAUSE IT’S ABILITY TO
INTERVENE IN HOW BULLYING IS
HANDLED IS LIMITED BY CURRENT
LAW, LEGISLTATIVE REFORM MIGHT
BE NEEDED. LAWMAKERS WE SPOKE WITH SAY
DELANIE MARCOTTE IS BRAVE AND
MAYBE A STUDY SHOULD BE DONE. THE STATE OF NH DOES KEEP TRACK
OF REPORTED INCIDENTS, A
LOGGED A TOTAL OF 2233 BULLYING
COMPLAINTS IN THE 2016-2017
SCHOOL YEAR, WHICH REPRESENTS
ABOUT 1.2% OF STUDENTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. OF THOSE, ABOUT HALF WERE
INVESTIGATED. STEPHEN BERWICK SAYS HE TAKES A
HANDFUL OF CALLS A WEEK FROM
PARENTS ABOUT BULLYING IN THEIR
CHILD’S SCHOOL.>>I ALWAYS ASK PARENTS, THINK
IN YOUR MIND WHAT IS THE ISSUE
THAT YOU HAVE, WHY, AND WHAT DO
YOU WANT? WHAT DO YOU ENVISION AS AN
OUTCOME. WHEN IS IT YOU WOULD WANT TO ASK
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT TO DO? REPORTER: IF YOU ARE A PARENT
CONCERNED ABOUT A BULLYING
SITUATION AT YOUR CHILD’S SCHOOL
AND ARE FRUSTRATED WITH THE
SCHOOL’S RESPONSE, STEPHEN
BERWICK SAYS HIS OFFICE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION CAN
HELP. THE PHONE NUMBER IS
603-271-2299.