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District may change policy after bullying claim

Posted: 6:48 PM, Sep 14, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-14 23:48:29Z

The Tonganoxie School District is reviewing its cyberbullying policy after a student complained of harassment and hasn't returned to class.

Last Tuesday, someone secretly took a half naked photo of the 14-year-old girl while she changed in the school locker room and posted it on social media.

The high school teenager found out after students had forwarded the image to each other on Snapchat.

"All the time they (students) have their phones out. She had no idea anyone had taken a picture," said Christine Snodgrass, mother of the 14-year-old student.

Snodgrass said she believes the district did not respond appropriately to the bullying complaints last week.

"Not only am I angry that they do not have safeguards in place to protect my daughter but their dismissive comments: 'Well there's really nothing we can do.' " 

But Superintendent Dr. Lyn Rantz, wrote in a statement, "We do not tolerate bullying."

She said the district followed its updated bullying policies, investigated and imposed a proper punishment immediately last week.

Punishments can range from expulsion, to detention from class to admonishment.

Rantz said the district will now ask "parents, community members, staff and students" to evaluate the district's bullying policies.

But the victim's mother said she is unsatisfied. Snodgrass said she was told the girl who snapped the photo was never suspended from class.

"I don't think the punishment was severe enough for what happened," Snodgrass said.

"I hope the committee they're talking about will actually change policy and maybe even a law but I don't have a lot of hope it will."

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Amy Hawley can be reached at amy.hawley@kshb.com .

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