A Wisconsin father has become a leader in the movement to stop school bullying by posting a protest about his son’s school on Facebook.
When Matthew Bent found out that his son was being bullied at his middle school, he took issue with school officials. According to Bent, he was rebuffed. Bent alleges his son was bullied for over a year, and that a recent incident in which a bully took his son’s shoes during gym class, had a shoe thrown at his groin by another student, and was body-slammed repeatedly, was the last straw.
Bent says a school police officer assigned to investigate the incident dismissed it as horseplay, and told him the case was closed. The father’s calls to the school were not returned.
So on March 26, Bent posted a photo of himself and his son holding a sign on Facebook urging others to like and share the message. The sign read:
“Please share and send a message to every school district that protecting bullies and doing nothing about their actions is wrong!! My son has been bullied all school year by this group of thugs, and not 1 teacher, administrator, councillor or officer will do anything to make it stop, they only offer excuses and blame the victims!!! Please help me in the effort to stop bullying!!!”
The post has gone viral, with over 900,000 likes and shares so far.
School Superintendent Mark Duerwaechter told Green Bay-based news outlet WFRV that the district "does not protect bullies" and “is committed to handling unresolved cases.” Police Chief John Munion also held a press conference shared by Fox 11 urging parents to not jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts.
Bent told the Huffington Post that school officials finally appear to be doing something about his son's case. "We're making progress. The school is stepping up and doing a good job so far." He added that while thankfully his son was not seriously hurt in the incident, many victims of bullies are not so fortunate.