Parents learn about bullying in Madera County

FRESNO, Calif.

Every parent within the 850 student district was invited to attend the meeting. It gave them a chance to learn how to prevent bullying. And while many say it was helpful, others were disappointed by the low turnout.

Thursday night, a handful of teachers, administrators and parents shared stories and learned how to prevent bullying inside the Oak Creek Middle School auditorium in Oakhurst.

Jenna Christensen said, "I was really disappointed, I know that our community has just been really divided in the issues we've had with our teacher and this was a wonderful opportunity for us to come together and try to start mending."

Janna Christensen's seven-year-old daughter is a student at Oakhurst Elementary School.

The school has been in the public eye since late November. Administrators placed second grade teacher, Elaine Brown on paid administrative leave after she called parents to discuss an alleged bully in her classroom. School officials say she violated the student's privacy. Many parents disagree.

Bass Lake Unified superintendent Glenn Reid said, Thursday's meeting is part of a long list of anti-bullying workshops the district has set-up to deal with the problem, including one earlier in the day at Wasuma Elementary in Ahwahnee.

Glenn Reid said, "We all need to work together to improve ourselves and improve what we do with our kids, so yeah, I'd love to have more people here but again, we have a good start."

Despite the turnout, people at Thursday's meeting say they left feeling refreshed and more united. Some even shed tears and shared hugs. Something these parents hope is a small step in the right direction.

Christine Ferbrache said, "I think the positiveness from everyone here will really go out amongst the community hopefully and will be able to affect the school and the kids too."

Students at Oakhurst Elementary will participate in an anti-bullying workshop tomorrow.

Meanwhile, as for the second grade teacher, she is still on leave, but the superintendent says their investigation is almost complete and they hope to have her in the classroom soon.

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