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Sun Prairie launches task force to tackle bullying

SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — After a contentious year for the Sun Prairie School Board on the issue of bullying, the district’s task force on behavior and bullying met for the first time, Monday night.

Rogette Koby, a mother of two, said she joined the task force to find ways to keep her children safe at school when she can’t be there.

“Early last school year, there was a group of girls that sort of ganged up on my daughter,” she said.

Koby said she took the issue to the school principal who tried to intervene, but nothing was working.

“That for me was pretty scary,” she said.

That’s when she went to Facebook to express her frustration at the bullies and the district. The post quickly garnered more than 600 comments, pushing Koby to a realization.

“I’m definitely not alone,” she said.

Koby said dozens of parents and even high school students were sharing similar stories and demanding the district take action.

In response, school board vice president Tom Weber said they decided to form the task force, starting out the year tackling the issue head on.

“What we want to do first is learn and understand what this issue is that we call behavior and bullying,” Weber said.

The task force is made up of 45 community members, district staff, teachers and parents to look at how the schools are addressing that issue. Weber serves as the co-chair.

“We always have room for improvement and bringing together a group like this should really help with that goal of improvement,” he said.

Koby said her daughter’s case shows plenty of room for improvement. She said when district intervention didn’t work, she did something no parent should have to do.

“We took matters into our own hands and followed buses home and actually ended up at parents’ homes in order to resolve the issue,” she said.

Koby said that’s the reason she’s on the task force herself. She said she wants to find new ways for the district or other community organizations to intervene so nothing escalates like it did for her own family.

“Although it may be resolved for my daughter, it’s not for other families,” she said.

Monday’s was the first of several meetings the Sun Prairie School District will host throughout the semester.

Besides the board’s efforts, Sun Prairie’s city council is hoping to address bullying on its own terms. On Sept. 3, the council will vote on an ordinance that would fine parents of children who are involved in repeated cases of bullying.

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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