Staff react after Thompson Falls students participate in walkout over bullying, harassment

Posted at 5:53 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 12:33:58-05

THOMPSON FALLS – Female students at Thompson Falls High School walked out of classes on Tuesday in protest of harassment and bullying that they said they had received in school.

Staff say that they are trying to improve conditions for female students and the entire student population, saying that they have been attempting to curb bullying and harassment at their school for some time now

“In mid-November, we recognized that there were some reports that had come in and (Thompson Falls High School Principal Rich) Ferris had sent out a school-wide email to all students explaining the process of reporting any bullying types of behaviors,” said Thompson Falls High School Counselor Jodi Morgan.

“So after the bullying prevention advisory lessons, it did generate some online bullying reports. Some anonymous, some not anonymous,” Ferris said. “We did look into those and that takes a little while. Like I always say, it’s not an easy process to go through. That was about two weeks, I believe, before we had the walkout.”

“December 3 is when the girls were actually speaking about specific things that they had heard from other people and I think that was more the catalyst to the ‘we’re going to do something right now, we need the walkout at this point because we’ve heard enough.’ And as students sometimes feel, ‘yeah we talked about it, but nothing will happen, and our goal was that something will happen.'”

“I honestly believe that a lot of what we had already been doing was encouraging some of these students to start stepping up and speaking out,” Morgan said.

“We do believe it’s important to instill all these values at a young age,” said Thompson Falls K-8 Principal Len Dorscher. “We have a lot on our plate in public schools but working on our environment and how we treat one another is very important. If kids aren’t feeling safe or feeling welcomed at school it’s going to be difficult to teach them.”

Thompson Falls Title IX coordinator and K-8 counselor Rob Christensen says that the administration decides if every complaint could be a Title IX offense.

Christensen says he then investigates the matter, interviewing all parties involved and decides if indeed it is a Title IX violation. The administration then deals with deciding the punishment against the offending party