Community still demanding action from school district to help stop bullying

NOW: Community still demanding action from school district to help stop bullying

ELKHART, Ind. --- A local community is still rallying for Rio, they held walkouts and spoke up at the Elkhart Community School board meeting Tuesday night, demanding action from the administration.

The move comes after the death of North Side Middle school student Rio Allred, the 12-year-old who took her life after experiencing severe bullying at the middle school.

“I did what I thought we were supposed to do and took the routes we were supposed to take by talking to counselors, talking to social workers, talking to teachers, and obviously it wasn’t enough,” said Rio’s Mother Nicole Ball.

Rio’s heartbroken remembering her daughter's light while working to share her story.

“From day one I knew that baby was going to do big things in the world, I really did and I said it for so long. You can ask anybody. I just didn’t think this would be how she changed the world,” she said.

Ball is among dozens of other parents that have demanded action and change from the Elkhart school district.

“Make the teachers accountable for reporting it and make the students accountable when they do these things,” said Crystal Guffey, another North Side Middle School Parent who's child has also experienced bullying.

An Elkhart Community Schools officials said they are leaning on current resources like bully-risk assessments, school social workers and they’re also looking to parents to help reevaluate policies.

“We’re organizing a parent meeting so that we can bring parents together to express their concerns. We know that there is a great deal of anger and sadness and it should be. So that we want an opportunity to talk about all of those things out so that we can create viable solutions that’s long lasting and that changes behavior,” said Elkhart Community Schools Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Sarita Stevens.

Rio’s mother has also joined forces with other concerned parents and said they won’t stop until they see change.

“We wanted to make sure that the school board heard us and heard us clearly and I will be at the next one and the next one after that,” said Shelby Choquette, a local parent who started Rally for Rio Facebook Group.

“Rio was only one of many many many of our babies who I’ve heard these stories about and she’s not the only one who took this route,” added Ball.

The district said they plan to gather with parents next week to hear concerns and work together to reevaluate policies.

Ball and other parents have also called on local lawmakers like Jackie Walorski to help implement tougher laws against bullying naming it “Rio’s Law."

Elkhart Community Schools parents and students can anonymously report bullying here.

You can also click here for more information about the organization made in Rio's honor.

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