Sparta schools taking action after bullying incident

School officials in Sparta are taking further action to stop bullying in the district after a high profile incident on a bus last month.

At a Board of Education committee meeting Tuesday night, board members announced several steps being taken to help improve the situation.

Joan Cook, the board’s clerk, says parents’ concerns about bullying are being taken seriously.

“If anyone is a good bully, they know where to be, what to do and how to do it. And they’re hard to spot sometimes,” said Cook.

An incident last month led to a lot of publicity about bullying and even police action against a 12-year-old student. The boy was seen in bus surveillance video shoving his hands down his pants and then rubbing them in the face of a 13-year-old boy.

Cook says the district is now planning on reviewing bus video on a regular basis. District officials are also scheduled to meet with all bus drivers to discuss how to spot and then stop bullying on the bus. There are also plans in the works to have volunteer bus monitors ride on certain routes.

“The bus driver is still the one in charge. The monitor is just there to inform and tell (students) to sit down and that kind of thing,” said Cook.


“I’m glad to see not only the school take steps forward but the community as well,” said Misty Morales, the mother of the victim in the bus bullying incident.

Morales sees progress being made but says there is still more to be done. She suggested having extra cameras installed on the buses as well as in-class surveys that allow students to tip off educators about bullying incidents.

“Nothing’s going to be perfect and I understand that bullying isn’t going to just stop. Children and adults, we can all be quite mean at times, unfortunately,” said Morales.

It’s a problem Sparta school officials are hoping to fight, but one they say they can’t fight alone.

“It takes a village or a community to teach a child and raise a child. It also takes a community to fight bullying too,” said Cook.

The school board plans to continue the conversation about bullying at it’s next meeting on March 26.