Monday, May 7, 2018

Bullying at Houston High, HMS, in Citizens to be Heard--Grab a Kleenex- Administration says "Horseplay" to serious incidents

News Stories:

Channel 3-Parents Want Answers to Problems at Houston High School 

Channel 5-Parents Question Germantown School Board about Suspended Choir Director

Commercial Appeal- Concerns Over Bullying, inappropriate conduct voiced at Germantown Board meeting 

Channel 3-Germantown Police Investigating Alleged Assault Against Houston High Teacher 

Commercial Appeal-Investigation of Houston High Choir Directors' Actions Nearing Conclusion 

Commercial Appeal-Weathersbee: Stopping school bullies requires bravery from all sides, not just the bullied

Grab some Kleenex and listen as several parents and a student speak about specific incidents of school bullying at Houston High, none of which were adequately addressed by school administrators. The Citizens To Be Heard addressing bullying is embedded below. Here are highlights of the speakers:

Speaker Number One--Dawn Grayson-representing concerned group of students, send children to school to prepare for lifelong learning and socially be responsible, the mission statement needs to be fulfilled, frustration re: teacher allegations, deeply disappointed, evidence to support that there was a pattern of behavior, citizens have rights, need transparency, need to know that our children are safe physically and emotionally, I am teacher, teachers have sacred and solemn role.

Speaker Number Two-Cherie D. -- personal experience with Mr. Cherry, daughter choked out by athlete, speaker corrected, can't talk about staff. Please mark off record. Daughter blacked out, coach woke her up and went to guidance, went to bathroom first, guidance said that she did wrong, should have gone to nurse, daughter was told it was horseplay, 911 should have been called. Her daughter had to transfer to Collierville, we all know names, not a joke, disgusting, Mr. Manuel-two Houston High Scandals, please retire and resign, kids should be safe, they are not safe, I believe you know this, you can remove me, baseball games saying people should honor you, I don't believe in this. 

Speaker Number 3-Jacob Vincent, KLEENEX ALERT- Brave student, tell experience, called names in elementary school, got worse in junior high, starts crying, punched in head on bus, laughed at by kids, seventh grade a popular basketball player in PE threw the ball straight at head, hitting head into concrete wall, went unconscious, administrators said bully just lost control of ball, in eighth grade his friend was thrown to the ground and put in neck brace, posted on social media about it and was called into office for that, does not remember repercussions on students involved, lots of social media abuse, told to kill himself online, could not talk to administrators because he knew they would not do anything, went to hospital, diagnosed with depression and transferred to another school.

Speaker Number 4- Laurie Vincent- this is the mom, her son insisted on speaking, she did not want him to, because she did not want him to relive this part of his life. 
Her son wanted to be a voice for all students bullied.  Policies are only as good as they are enforced. Getting punched in the face is bullying, was not reported as bullying with either incident. Impossible. 

Speaker Number 5- Herschel Freeman- You want to shut up people. Has a series of questions about Principal "Blank" and ladder/flip flops incident, This is from Commercial Appeal article, what are you hiding, why do you not let people ask questions? Who knew what and when? When did City officials knew? When did Board know? Should have been fired in August. Public needs to know how this was handled. Needs to be a thorough investigation and public airing. 

Speaker Number 6- Sarah Freeman, apparently we cannot talk about this, "this thing that we cannot mention", this governing body wants to sweep August incident under the rug. Were there City intermediaries between police and Superintendent-- the Mayor and City Administrator, this is a cover up. When was the School Board told, culture of cover up. Unconscionable

Speaker Number 7- Suzanne Walls- all this still going on, at HMS, Boy very threatening, tripping people, bus driver could not control him, contacted HMS, son terrified of student, administrator called it "horseplay", child stole candy from her son, teacher did not fix it, as a result, kid that stole candy shoved son in the hall, her son shoved back and got punished, all because candy incident was not taken care of, in "anonymous alert" how will privacy be protected, gets better customer service at Walmart, staff did not understand basic terms,

Speaker Number 8 Sheila Hahn--Things have happened in my family I have not reported because kids told her not to, One of her children was told to commit suicide, but the bully was popular, so son said don't report it, Kids bullied because they are Jewish, what does she say, not time to throw a party to Superintendant, referring to Baseball Party, take responsibility, not time to celebrate how great we are doing. 


FYI--the Baseball party the speakers are referring to has to do with an event last week "honoring" Superintendent Manuel, and a parents' group received an email, which in part stated  "Mr. Manuel will throw out the first pitch and will be recognized prior to the start of the game against Arlington. Let’s make an enthusiastic effort to be there, to stand tall and cheer loudly in support of Mr. Manuel and his leadership and dedication to our schools."


Ironically, school safety was the theme of the evening, and School Board member Amy Eoff explained that she would be working with the superintendant on creating a school culture that is safe. Let's hope this comes about.

Please think carefully about what Mr. Manuel said in response to these incidents in the television news reports. I question whether calling the superintendent is a good way to avoid these problems. Why not address the culture at the school? We have heard incidents of bullying and injuring (assault) that were dismissed as horseplay. Teachers need to be forced to set the standard. And the standard should be high for student behavior and teacher behavior, higher than dress code standard, please! I am not sure, given what was said, why students even bother reporting problems at all. Nothing seems to happen to the bullies even when the victims are injured.

As an example, if a house has poor wiring, and the lights are flickering on and off periodically, is the appropriate response to wait until a fire occurs and then call the fire department? Or is it more logical to call an electrician to fix the wiring and check the fuse box or breaker box, and perform some tests and FIX THE PROBLEM??



  1. Citizens to be heard starts at 2:30:00 on new tape

  2. Post the names of the bullies

  3. Thank you all for writing. I have so much trouble with these YouTubes when Germantown Municipal Television posts them. They edit them later, and I need all the help I can get to keep up with this. I ended up doing a separate clip of Citizens to Be Heard in the end.

    I, of course, do not know names of the bullies, and, if I did, I would not post them. There are appropriate ways to deal with situations like this, but publication of the names of minors in a blog post is not one of them.

  4. Hello Shining A Light,

    I have some questions and concerns I would like to share confidentially. Is there an email address where I can contact you?


    1. Thank you. I prefer that you contact me through a Facebook private message. Pauline Folbre Lathram. Or if you are not on Facebook get someone else to send me a private Facebook message with your email or phone number and I will contact you. You can try but I get a lot of spam there and don't want it to get lost.