Rogers City, MI. — Less than two weeks ago tragedy struck the Rogers City community, when 16-year-old Natalie Grulke took her own life as a result of bullying.
Tonight, community members organized a take over of the school board meeting in an effort to make their voices heard, and to say enough is enough when it comes to bullying.
“I’m here. We have a problem. Now what can I do.”
Inside the library at the Rogers City High School Monday night more than 60 people, ranging from concerned citizens to district students, spoke to the school board about an issue that they say has gone on for far too long: Bullying.
“This is something that is incredibly important that we work together as a community to get under control.”
Organizer Mike Porter, who was one of many that urged people to attend the meeting, was quick to point out that this was not a protest, but simply a community coming together to take action.
“Yes, it’s not just Rogers City it’s all over. But the tragedy that we just had? It’s time to step up and do something,” proclaimed Crystal Curtis.
Those in attendance patiently waited for the school board to conclude their agenda items before moving onto the public comment portion of the meeting. It was during this time when emotional stories of bullying within the district were shared.
“I was punched by a student in the face in front of a teacher. And they told him, sit down, we don’t hit girls. Never sent him to the office. Didn’t address it with any parents. Just told him to sit down,” said former Rogers City student Kendra Degan.
More than a dozen individuals spoke to the board, sharing both their stories and ideas for how to stop the issue; including implementing a task force to discuss the issue every couple of weeks. Others though, like Degan, suggest finding ways for other students to help those in need.
“Can we start a program maybe? Where we can ask seniors to say hey, I’ll take a stand. I’ll wear a bracelet. And all the kids in the lower grades know I won’t bully them.”
While it remains unclear as to whether or not the board will take action on the issue, one thing is for certain: The entire community of Rogers City stands at the ready to eliminate bullying.
In Rogers City, I’m Preston Donakowski.