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Kristi's Kids: Tucson mom concerned over 'Classroom Chaos' at TU - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Kristi's Kids: Tucson mom concerned over 'Classroom Chaos' at TUSD

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The latest now on claims of bullying in some Tucson schools. Reports are not letting up, even as the school year winds down.

For more than two years, Kristi's Kids has been investigating claims of classroom chaos in the Tucson Unified School District. TUSD is revamping its rules on student behavior and discipline. Though, one Tucson mom says, it’s too little, too late.

“These people that were put in authority to protect him, and care for him while he's gone from his family during the day let him down,” Tucson mom, Jessica Lee, told Kristi’s Kids. “At first it was just little incidents, like a pinch on the belly, or a shove on the playground, and then it started escalating to bloody noses and being pushed over,” Lee told us.

Lee says her son has been targeted at Soleng Tom Elementary school since last September.

Every day, he would come home from school, and I would pick him up, and he would say, oh mom, I had the worst day, this, and this, and this happened,” Lee said.

Lee tells Kristi’s Kids, school officials repeatedly failed to notify her of violence.

“He would come home - mom, I got punched in the nose today, and I had to go down to the nurse's office. That was another red flag for me. Why aren't I hearing from the nurse that my child is down there bleeding,” Lee told Kristi’s Kids.

Lee told us, TUSD finally got around to telling her, and took steps, to separate the kids. That was nearly five months into the school year.

“What concerned me was how long it took to get any kind of action to actually stop the situation,” Lee said. “They should follow their own policies and procedures for stopping the bullying,” she added.

“This is going on in our schools. All of our schools. There is bullying going on at almost every school around,” TUSD board member, Michael Hicks, told Kristi’s Kids. Hicks says the issues, at Soleng Tom are symptomatic of a much bigger, district problem.

“We are now in an atmosphere where people are afraid to come forward - staff - is afraid to come forward with issues that are going on within the district,” Hicks told Kristi’s Kids.

Though, that is a charge that district officials firmly reject.

“I would not agree with that. I was a middle school administrator for 24 years, and ten years here in the district, and I've never felt that way. If there is an issue, we report it. If a parent reported to me and they weren't satisfied, they would go up to my supervisor. I don't think that's true at all,” said Kathleen Scheppe, TUSD’S director of K-8 leadership.

Scheppe told Kristi's Kids, she understands Jessica Lee's concerns. Though Scheppe added, the district truly is working to improve.

“Our goal at all schools is to make sure that kids all feel safe, and parents have an avenue that if they have a concern they can express their concern, and that are adults out there to help kids feel safe, and be available and accessible to students,” Scheppe said.

At this point, Jessica is not sure she'll be sending her son back to TUSD next fall.

“Oh, the trust is gone,” Lee said.

TUSD’s new code of conduct hasn't been finalized, but it's meant to replace the old Student Rights and Responsibilities mandate. The re-write comes at a cost of about $35,000.

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