UPDATE - The bullying concern raised by the Brown family regarding their son's time at Shepherd High School has struck a nerve within the community. Prior to running the story KULR-8 did reach out to both Superintendent Dan Jamieson and High School Principal K.J. Poepping. Neither could comment on this story. A no comment does not mean that the school system is not acting in this case.
Following concerns raised by other parents following our report, KULR-8 again reached out to Superintendent Jamieson. Jamieson tells KULR-8 that the law prevents the school system from commenting on issues relating to individual students and that all students have a right to privacy.
Asked about the systems bullying policy in general... Jamieson stated that the school system takes bullying seriously and that the law is followed whenever a bullying complaint is raised.
Jamieson stated that bullying is not allowed and that... "We do everything we can to address bullying. It takes time to work through it. We work directly with the student to address the issue as best we can."
Jamieson explains that settling the issue can range from speaking with both students directly, separating the students to try and prevent interaction, then in-school suspension, and finally a referral to the school board.
Jamieson explained that the individual schools do not have the power to expel a student, and that it takes an action by the school board to do so.
Jamieson also explained that expulsion is a last result because that kind of action can follow a student during their academic career.
Jamieson finished saying that at the heart of the mission is to provide a quality education for all students.
What can one do as a parent when you feel your child's terror is being ignored? A local mother says she's had enough – opting to pull her children from their schools – rather than allow the bullying to continue.
The family showed us pictures of swollen faces and bruises that resulted after a recent fight. We will not be showing those pictures at the request of the family.
Tamra Brown and her husband say they are both heartbroken over their children being bullied. As of Wednesday, both of their boys have been pulled from Shepherd schools. They say their decision comes after excessive bullying. The family says they feel their pleas for help have gone unheard.
Brown says her husband confronted K.J. Poepping, the principal of Shepherd High School, but his response was "What do you want me to do?"
"I felt like I've been through this so many times with them, and they just keep slamming the door on our face," Brown said.
Brown and her family moved to Shepherd from California two years ago. Since the move, Brown says it's been extremely challenging to raise her children in Shepherd. She says her children have been called the n-word multiple times and she says her oldest son, Rodney Jr., was physically attacked on school grounds over the color of his skin.
We spoke with the Dan Jamieson, superintendent of Shepherd Public Schools, on the phone and met briefly with Principal Poepping. We asked them what they are doing to protect Tamra's children. At this time, neither will comment on the record.
However, that does not mean actions are not being taken behind closed doors. It just means that the school system is choosing not share those actions publicly.
After our interview with Tamra, we let her know about a resource she says she wasn't aware of.
The 2015 Montana Legislature passed House Bill 284, the Bully Free Montana Act, which requires all schools to have policies and procedures for addressing bullying behavior in schools, on school buses, at school-sponsored activities, and online. In this case, it doesn't appear to the family that school administrators are following this act.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction has a Bully Free Montana section on their website, and it breaks down what parents can do to help their children.