February 21, 2022 – West Bend, WI – A meeting of the West Bend School Board took place Monday night, February 21, 2022, at the Education Service Center, 735 S. Main Street.
During the public participation portion of the meeting, seven people spoke with five specifically addressing safety concerns regarding a student who was assaulted by another on the school bus.
Corine Freund was first to speak about her son being assaulted on the school bus last week. Freund’s comments are below. Because of a 3-minute time restriction, other parents picked up the script.
“I’m going to tell you a story regarding events that took place over the last weeks involving my son, other students, and the Administration of Badger and Silverbrook. I will keep my statement somewhat vague because it involves minors and an open District investigation. My statement today is backed by a now-closed police investigation.
“The past week, my son comes home from school… “Mom, today was the best and worst day ever. The kid attacked me again and now the police are involved; he might actually stop!” My heart sank, as my son explained the situation to me… I gave my son the advice weeks prior to ignore the kid; I had no idea of the depth of the situation.
“A few weeks back, “The kid” started a fight with my son at Badger while waiting for the bus. My son was ignoring the kid, so he decided to punch my son in the back of the head, and mouth causing blood drawn. It was reported to the administration- I was not contacted.
“Two Wednesdays ago, on the bus, kids were having a roasting battle, not of great taste, but they are kids. The same boy got upset from the battle, decided to attack my son, along with (3) other boys and also swung a backpack at a girl just sitting in her seat – it was reported, I was not contacted.
“Two Fridays ago, the same boy brought a wooden shank and went after my son, again, on the bus. The kid got up from his seat and moved to the back where my son sat. He stabbed the seat in front of my son, knocked off my son’s glasses (he can’t see without them) and proceeded to try to stab my son in the neck and chest. My son fought the shank out of the kid’s hand. Why did this happen? The kid didn’t like the way my son looked at him. It was reported to administration. I was never contacted.
“Last Wednesday this kid managed to hide a fiberglass snow stake in his jacket as he entered the bus. He spent the bus ride poking other students in the head with it. As my son was leaving the bus he struck my son from behind, hitting on the back of his head and neck, when my son finally acted in self-defense, the kid bit my son on the hand! I was not contacted by one single member of the West Bend School District about the (4) Assaults. This is the day when my son finally told me about everything going on at school.
“No one took pictures of his bite marks, sought any medical attention. Mouths have bad bacteria. What if fiberglass from the snow stake lodged into his skin? Who has the legal right to make these medical decisions for my son? ME! I HAVE PARENTAL RIGHTS! I was never contacted. According to my son and Badger Administration, he was never even examined for his injuries. The weapons were never collected.
“To top it off, this kid was not even supposed to be on the bus!!! He was suspended for the previous acts!
“The actions of your administration are of gross negligence, horrendous safety risks, hold potential lethal ramifications, were illegal, broke at least 4 district policies and are damaging to the psychological health of minors.”
“Teachers, students and parents have all painted a picture regarding the atmosphere within WBSD schools. I have sat here as the presentation on school safety was given to the school board.
“This presentation was given MONTHS after the request was made to the Superintendent.
“But here’s the catch: out of the (11) Administrators from the middle and high schools, (10) Administrators decided not to show! How is that acceptable to you?
“You were given a bunch of graphs focusing on data and procedures of the grade schools. No questions were asked, with the exception of Nancy’s, but she even apologized for asking questions. No answers were given to the students, parents, and teachers claims, but Lots of jokes, smiles, and spin was given.
“In the past week, as I sat in Badger’s office, in front of administration and the School resource officer. I found out the resource officer had no idea about the (3) previous attacks until we gave a statement that day! NO one from Administration thought that was important? I was also informed that Lance decided on the punishment of the kid…. What punishment was given you ask? A (7) day bus suspension!
“I no longer need a presentation from your Administration to see how punishments are administered, the level of safety in our schools and the competence of the administration to handle serious situations.
“How does a kid use a wooden shank against another child, then have the opportunity to bring another weapon to school? This is how school shootings happen. What does the kid bring next?
“I ask how this is even possible. I am told there is no cross-jurisdiction between schools. And the district does not have any standards for discipline. Meaning, a kid who brings a weapon to school does not have an automatic suspension. Every punishment given is up to the Administrators discretion.
“My son is a minor; I have legal rights as his parents to be informed. Put yourself in my situation, you all have kids, how would you feel?
“Just this morning I received a phone call from the Badger Vice Principal to inform me the kid was on the bus again this morning – direct insubordination! The level of incompetency in everything surrounding this situation.
“Is this a joke to Lance? To the district? (4) Assaults, (2) with a weapon, (2) direct insubordinations against a suspension! I want to vomit!
“I want to make it clear; I am so upset at this kid for what he has done, but I am even angrier at the administration. This is a child, who has been part of the district for years, has shown patterns; this is not his first or fourth time. The district has failed this child. He clearly needs help, the administration had to have known this.
“In addition, Administrators told me they know there is a big problem on busses with the age difference of Silverbrook and Badger kids. Has the school board ever heard of this concern? They claim it would take around $600,000 to do an independent bus route and there is no money, so the district is thinking of putting Badger kids on the bus with high schoolers next year. Seriously, that’s an even larger age gap, with even larger influential differences.”
“No Money! This school board has passed tax levies for a total of 20.52% in increases over the last 3 years. One on top of another, even as attendance falls, this burden is pushed onto the citizen taxpayers. From a FOIA request, I know the district has received countless grants, some even from the DOJ titled, “School safety Grants”, but the district wasted that money on the ideals of Second Step and woke seminars for the staff. And here’s the kicker, you… the school board approved it ALL!
“So here is the question I ask you all… Where is the safety? Where are the repercussions? When is someone on this board actually going to wake up and look into any of these things? What kid should be fearful of getting shanked on the bus in West Bend?
“How can a child be expected to learn when these acts are happening?
“I can tell you as a parent, taxpayer, and some who actually gives a rip, I am fed up!
“You asked to be in that seat….You fought to be elected…. You asked to be held accountable………… You asked to represent the parents and children of this district.
“Every single meeting you all vote for the district requests like a bunch of bobbleheads – vote against the requests of the public, students, and parents who elected you. It’s time to buckle up and actually fulfill the job you signed up for or resign.
While, by policy, the school board cannot comment on the public participation portion of the meeting, the board did speak in general asking administrators to ride the bus, both morning and evening, for the next two weeks.
According to the superintendent, the incident is under review.
West Bend Police were contacted earlier Monday prior to the school board meeting. Chief Tim Dehring confirmed the incident and said it was under investigation.
The district did not offer a timeline on when a decision will be made. There also was no mention on ramifications for the students involved or whether administration will be riding the bus.
This is a working story, and more details will be added when information is available.