Mom on school bullying: 'My heart just sank into my stomach'

Mom on school bullying: 'My heart just sank into my stomach'

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Overall, bullying in Yakima County schools seems to be getting better. The latest statistics from the state indicates there were still hundreds of incidents locally last year. Things improved in some districts got worse in others.

"She goes 'mom I don't want to go back to school,'" Shannon Kring said about her elementary-aged daughter. "I was like 'why don't you want to go back to school' and then she started telling me and my heart just sunk into my stomach, I just felt awful for her."

Shannon Kring's daughter has been bullied and her mom can't always be there to protect her.

"She doesn't fight or argue with other kids so it was easy to push her out of the group and make her feel excluded," said Kring.

Schools across Yakima County are trying to stop bullying on their campuses. West Valley Junior High school counselor Nick Hartman sees it every day.
    
"Just that feeling of just being overwhelmed," said Nick Hartman. "I mean, where you just look at a kid and they just have it seems to them like there's just no answers."

New numbers from the state show improvement countywide. Last school year, there were 656 suspension for bullying in Yakima County schools. That is down by 40 from the year before. The Yakima and Sunnyside school districts saw dramatic decreases on their campuses in both suspension and expulsions.

West Valley, though, had 13 more suspensions. They aren't worried because they feel it is the result of their anti-bullying programs encouraging students to report it.

"Kids are saying 'I'm not going to let that happen at my school'," said Hartman.

Granger and Mabton are the only other school districts in Yakima County that saw a large increase in bullying.