FORT DODGE, Iowa -- Debbie Monahan says it’s hard to watch the video of her 13–year-old granddaughter being beat up in a classroom at Fort Dodge Middle School. She’s been bullied for several years.
“I get goosebumps knowing that she could have gotten really hurt,” Monahan said.
A student captured video of the fight on a cell phone. The incident happened the day before students were dismissed on Christmas vacation. The video shows two girls wrangling and pulling each other’s hair.
“Jasmine was trying to defend herself why should she stand there and get the heck beat out of her,” Monahan said.
According to Monahan, school officials suspended Jasmine for three days and suggested "disorderly conduct" charges. Monahan also says the alleged aggressors got off with a lesser punishment, “All I know is that my granddaughter has to see a probation officer and the other girls don’t have to.”
Fort Dodge School District superintendent, Doug Van Zyl, says anyone who had anything to do with the fight received some sort of consequence based on how often they got in trouble. He says the district is actively taking steps to tackle the issue of bullying by forming education programs but says educators can’t do it alone.
“It’s not always our role in my opinion; if parents are being involved and helping monitor that. It’s a partnership. It’s the schools and parents partnership to help deal with that situation.”
However, Monahan says the situation was handled poorly.
“I am angry at the school. I am angry at the school yes. I am angry at the system of the school and how they handled it,” Monahan said.
Monahan told Channel 13 she wishes the district had cameras in classroom. However, the middle school's 80 cameras are mounted in hallways or on the outside of the building.