Community members voice concerns at first Shawano School Board meeting since viral bullying video

The superintendent says parents will receive information about an updated "Speak Up, Speak Out" program
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 5:18 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2023 at 10:19 PM CDT
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SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - Monday night, the Shawano School Board held its first meeting since Action 2 News first told you about the disturbing Instagram video of a Shawano Community Middle School student punching another student in class.

People attending the meeting addressed their concerns about the district’s communication with parents when incidents occur and confusion over how disciplinary actions are handled.

“The recent events have outraged me. I need to do something,” said the grandfather of a student at Shawano Middle School. “I just feel compelled as a grandfather to do something. I’m sure others here feel that way too.”

Several parents Action 2 News has spoken with over the past month say they’re concerned about bullying within the Shawano schools, especially after the online incident.

The mother of the victim from the video, Chelsea Giesen, attended the meeting. Giesen says while she’s glad there are discussions of solutions, she hopes the administration takes action in a timely manner.

“They had plenty of time to discuss things that they want to change or are changing instead of saying, ‘This summer we’re going to look into more things to change,’” said Giesen.

Superintendent Kurt Krizan says more information will be sent out to parents regarding an updated version of the Speak Up Speak Out Wisconsin program.

“To make this a reality we need to collectively speak up and speak out. I became aware of this video from a parent emailing me. If not for the actions of the parent in collaboration with the Shawano P.D., we wouldn’t have been able to identify all the parties involved in the incident,” said Krizan.

Tonya Johnson, a parent of a child she says experienced bullying at Shawano Community Middle, says she hopes to see change.

“I would definitely like to see mental health made a priority in the schools, because I think that’s probably the bigger issue. The students, mental health and mental well-being, not, not being priority, I think that’s probably the main issue. But there’s, there’s a lot of issues there that need to be addressed. And they say they have a zero bully tolerance but nothing’s really ever done about it,” said Johnson.

The Shawano Community Middle School principal previously sent a letter to parents asking for volunteers for school initiatives.