Three Gilbert Junior High School eighth-graders say they have reported threats to the school’s administration and resource officer but authorities have not taken them seriously.
Ejona Skudrinja, 13, said another student threatened after a basketball game last week that a sibling was “going to come and kill you guys.”
Ejona and two peers brought a petition with 452 student signatures to the Gilbert Unified School District governing board Tuesday night to show the student body’s disapproval of how the school’s administration handled the bullying incident.
“We decided to take it that far, because it was unfair what (the administration is) doing to us and they were not paying attention to us and we shouldn’t feel unsafe in our school,” Ejona said.
But the students didn’t get a chance to present their case because they missed the portion of the meeting that allows the public to speak on nonagenda items. They plan to present their concerns in February.
School officials did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.
The district’s bullying policy prohibits psychological distress imposed on students, and states that all reported incidents will be investigated within 10 days.
“I think the district has a reputation for acting appropriately if an incident is brought forward,” said district spokeswoman Dianne Bowers.
Sgt. Art Johnson, who oversees school resource officers for the Gilbert Police Department, said that “there is probably a lot of things that are happening behind the scenes that are not reported to the kids.”
“Anytime there is any kind of threat, we investigate everything,” Johnson said.
Students and parents said they have concerns with the amount of threats and fights that have littered the campus in recent years.
Susan Salz, a mother of an eighth-grader, said she started volunteering last year during lunch because of rumors of campus violence.
“The atmosphere at the school when a fight happens, to me, it’s just appalling and scary,” she said.
Her 14-year-old son, Brennen, said the school has a reputation for fights, but he still feels safe there.
Brennen said when he has been threatened he reports it to the office, but it is only “sometimes” that he feels they listen to him.
“Lots of times, they don’t listen to us at all,” he said. “They don’t listen to us talk. They tell us what they think happened.”