Marysville parents, teens urge School Board to end bullying

Merriah Sample, left, and her daughter, Aryana, speak to the press after their testimonials to the Marysville School District Board of Directors on April 18 about bullying. - Kirk Boxleitner
Merriah Sample, left, and her daughter, Aryana, speak to the press after their testimonials to the Marysville School District Board of Directors on April 18 about bullying.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Merriah Sample still doesn't feel like she's being heard by the Marysville School District.

"It's the same rote answer I heard for four years," said Sample, who was joined by two other parents of teens at the MSD Board of Directors' April 18 meeting to speak on bullying in Marysville schools. "We were forced to leave our home here in Marysville because our daughter was bullied so much, and she tried to commit suicide over it."

Merriah Sample was unsatisfied with the response she received from Board President Cindy Erickson, after Aryana Sample, 15, fought back tears as she recounted how her bullying began at Marysville Middle School in 2008, and continued until she left the school district.

"I worried about people beating me up every day," said Aryana Sample, who added that the bullying left her with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder so severe that she attempted suicide three times. "There were rumors and harassment. They would throw my clothes away after PE, or flush them down the toilet. I was assaulted three times at school. I still have the scars. I don't want anyone else to go through what I went through."

Merriah Sample noted that none of the students who had assaulted her daughter were suspended the next day, and recounted the number of times she'd met with school staff and district administrators to try and stop her daughter's bullying. She advocated a number of proposals to the Board, including early intervention and progressive discipline in instances of bullying.

Fellow mom Deanna Allen added that boys are just as vulnerable to bullying as girls.

"My son is a big kid," Allen said. "He's built like a fighter, but he's not a fighter, so he gets picked on a lot. Three kids attacked him after school once. Sometimes it gets so bad that I almost want to say to him, 'Well, why don't you just beat them up?' But is that right of me? No."

Allen echoed Merriah Sample's suggestion mandatory anger management for bullies and additionally called for making the bullies' parents more accountable.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying, when we know about it," said Erickson, who encouraged people to call the Safe Schools Tipline at 1-866-548-3847 (LIVE-TIP), and enter the district code 164, to report bullying anonymously.

"I tried working with the school district for two years before we finally had to leave the new house we'd had built for us," Merriah Sample told Erickson. "We followed every single procedure we were told to."

"I do acknowledge that," said Erickson, who closed her remarks to the parents by saying the Board would consider their suggestions.

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