Shawano middle school bans cellphones after bullying video goes viral

Changes will come, says a letter to parents
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:56 AM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2023 at 8:56 AM CDT
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SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - Since we first told you about the shocking Instagram video of a Shawano Community Middle School student punching another student in class, we’ve been digging into the Shawano school district’s bullying policies and hearing from parents and police.

A letter to parents from the school’s principal says he is no longer allowing cellphones during any part of the school day. This, as parents continue to voice concerns.

Shawano Police Lt. Mike Musolff is also president of the Shawano school board. He says the board is laying out steps they’ll take for improvement.

He could not share specific actions taken against the student in the most recent assault.

“We work in collaboration together with the school district, so if the school district decides to go for something past suspension, that would be an expulsion, they would come to the school board and have the school board decide on the expulsion,” Musolff said.

Currently there aren’t any tools to report bullying anonymously through the school district’s website. It’s up to the student, staff or parent to verbally report it. Otherwise, the state has a website to report abuse or threats through its Speak Up, Speak Out program. Some other school districts, such as Appleton have sections designated to Speak Up, Speak Out.

Jessica Waller is a parent of a child who’s dealt with bullying at the school.

“I feel terrified for my daughter to send her to school. It’s ridiculous that she can’t feel safe,” Waller said. “She still is always calling me wanting to come home because she doesn’t feel safe. I feel like she’s unable to learn.”

The principal also says in a letter to parents he’ll be sending a survey next week asking for volunteers for school initiatives and is open to input.

The school board president says he’s also open to suggestions. He encourages parents to attend the next school board meeting on June 5.

”One of the things we’ll do is hear whatever anybody has for ideas to try to make things better. My personal thought is with this referendum coming up we need to look for ways to increase staff, and my personal opinion, four school resources officers would be a lot better, we’d have one at every school. Is that feasibly possible? We’ll see what happens with that.”

Action 2 News will continue to stay on this story.