Parents, Students Lash out at School Board After Bullying Possibly Led to Student’s Suicide

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Tempers flared at an emotional school board meeting in Columbia County after a tragedy in the school community.

Emotional, angry, and frustrated parents and students lashed out at the Southern Columbia Area School Board, disgusted by what they see as the district's lack of action against the bullying taking place inside its schools.

“Don't sit there and say you're doing your best because you're not doing a damn thing,” yelled one parent.

“I left this school because I felt unsafe here because of all the bullies every single day,” said freshman Clarissa Fox, who said she left Southern Columbia High School for the VoTech due to bullying.

This heated meeting comes one week after Natalie Bodnar, a 14-year-old freshman from Catawissa, took her life. Some friends and parents believe Bodnar's suicide was caused by bullying.

“It happens everywhere. We all know this. We know it happens everywhere, but to the extent that our kids are even thinking about taking their own lives is unacceptable,” said parent Jodi Levan, who wept while speaking.

Natalie's classmates and their parents say there is rampant bullying taking place in the Southern Columbia schools and the district is aware but doing nothing to stop it.

“My children witnessed firsthand that Natalie was treated differently, and she was treated meanly by certain students,” said one father. “My child has experienced a pack mentality of name calling by groups of students.”

This board meeting comes on same the day Natalie's family laid her to rest. Many of her classmates attended her funeral service.

Still grieving, Natalie's friends say her death won't be in vain as they fight to stop bullying in their schools.

“They're not just cruel anymore. They've led to a girl's death, and I truly do believe that they were the cause of it,” said Fox.

The Southern Columbia School Board would not talk about Natalie Bodnar's death because they say it is still under investigation by police.

The board did suggest that a committee be formed of parents and school officials so a discussion on how to stop bullying can be had.

4 comments

  • Shelly Havara

    Schools fear retribution from liberals. It’s time to put a stop to this madness, and do the right thing for you child and every child thereafter. The first time, go directly to the principal, they will do absolutely nothing. Second time, go to the school board, they will do absolutely nothing. Third time, bypass both the principal and school board and go tot he police. Make a police report. Any other subsequent events, go to the police even if they just take a report. After so many, find a way to haul the parents’ butt into court. Sue them. If they own anything, house car, stocks, get em for every dime you can, bleed them with attorney fees. It will stop. Lastly if you have to, depending on how severe the bullying is, have the child arrested, and charged. Bullying is not just name calling, there is physical abuse and stalking involved as well. Those are crimes in every state. If parents cannot control their bullying kids, maybe juvenile hall can. But bypass the school as soon as possible. You need to go to each one of them first, because the first thing the police are going to ask, is Did you contact the School? Did you contact the School Board….

  • Kathy Davenport

    Where can parents get help, our family experienced an episode of bullying last week with my grandson. He is only 5 and excited about kindergarten, but last week that changed when a bigger kid grabbed him by the throat in the bathroom and slammed his head off the wall…the school will not give any information if the bully was suspended, parents notified..etc…my grandson saw the kid in the lunchroom next day…so he was in school….now my grandson is afraid to go to the bathroom in school…Northwest area school district what are you going to do to correct this…hes only 5 years old

  • Sue Phillips

    Maybe parents should take some responsibility in raising kids who AREN’T bullies to begin with. It isn’t up to the school to teach them everything. That being said, still, if it had been reported the school then needed to step up.

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