Heartbroken community calls on school district to help stop bullying

NOW: Heartbroken community calls on school district to help stop bullying


ELKHART, Ind., --- Heartbroken students and parents in Elkhart have called on the School District to do something about bullying. It comes after a tear-filled candlelight memorial honoring 12-year-old Rio Allred, who's family said the middle schooler took her own life because of bullies.

“I’ve been bullied since the like the 7th grade, it wasn’t as bad as Rio. She was a really good friend of mine and just to see her like go through bullying it hurt me a lot,” said Natalie Pereida, an 8th grader at North Side Middle School.

Natalie and her mother Evelyn said they’ve been dealing with bullying at the middle school for nearly two years and feel like their concerns were ignored.

But after the latest tragedy with Rio taking her own life, bullying is back on this mom’s mind.

“I’m not there all day with her. I expect the school to do something about it. I shouldn’t have my child telling me she doesn’t want to go to school anymore she doesn’t want to live. What am I supposed to do as a parent, when I’m doing everything I can. I feel like it’s almost a slap in my face,” added Evelyn Pereida, Natalie’s, mother.

Elkhart Community Schools responded to those concerns and said they’re now reassess their policies and training for students as well as staff.

“It causes us to want to look at the process and things we have in place because we simply don’t want to lose any student and the safety of students and their place within our buildings is the priority one,” said Elkhart Community Schools Superintendent Steve Thalheimer.

The community is still planning to come together to Rally for Rio to spread awareness and help make sure those changes happen in hopes that no more children are lost to the hands of bullying.

“Not only for my kids but for other kids. I’m pushing for a change and I’m not going to stop,” said local parent Shelby Choquette who started a group called Rally for Rio that's looking to spread awareness and fundraise for Rio's family.

Now the school district also said students or parents can report bullying in person but there are also online resources available too.

There are local also resources available for parents as which can be found here.

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