Protest Calls for Cloquet Schools to Get Tougher on Bullying

CLOQUET, Minn. – The issue of bullying in schools taking center stage outside Cloquet High School Tuesday. Some parents and students saying they’ve had enough. They say they want the school district to get tougher on bullying, saying the problem is at a breaking point. The district says it investigates and deals with concerns brought to them.

People were holding signs, calling for safer learning environments. Bettina Johnsen, a mother of three students, who also once attended Cloquet schools, says the district often doesn’t resolve bullying complaints from not only her kids, but other students and parents she’s heard from as well.

Johnsen says she even had to temporarily pull her daughter out of school after she says a student told her child to kill herself.

“Unfortunately, I have dealt with more in the middle school when my oldest was there and I have dealt with it a little bit in the high school now and there have been a few times where here at the high school that they have talked to me and brought me in and tried to remedy the situation but there are times that things haven’t been done,” Mother of Cloquet Students, Bettina Johnsen says.

Meanwhile, a Cloquet 9th grader at the protest said bullying in the halls of her school brought her to a major low point in her life.
She said, “Last year, I had to change schools because I was a victim of bullying, and the school administration did nothing to help me. I never felt like I really had anyone to go to.”¬†We are intentionally not showing her face to respect her privacy.

“Bruises heal but words hurt, and words can last forever. You know, and that’s sad that the kids have to go through that, and they carry that, and they see that within themselves and when somebody keeps telling you the same thing over and over, you might start to believe those things,” Johnsen says.

Johnsen suggested one way to improve the culture is to hold more school assemblies, helping to connect everybody and start conversations around the issues to address them head-on.

The Cloquet School District has a Zero Tolerance Bullying Policy.

The district released a statement to FOX 21.

It reads, “Our school district is very serious about providing students with a safe learning environment for all. We regularly discuss safe learning environments with our students and provide a number of supports for the children in our care. When concerns are reported to our administrative team, they are investigated and addressed. We appreciate individuals in the community showing support for safe learning environments in our district and region. We encourage parents and community members to reach out to the leaders of our school buildings if they have questions or concerns regarding student safety and available supports.”

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