S.O.Y. Mariachi and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce will hold a Town Hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 16, at the S.O.Y. Mariachi building, 702 S. Grand Ave. The topic under discussion will be bullying in the schools.
This will be the second time that the HCOC has sponsored a meeting on the subject.
The issue came to a head after an incident was reported to the Roswell Police Department. A student of a local elementary school forced another student to eat dirt. RPD Public Information Liaison Sabrina Morales confirmed that a report had been filed and the parents brought together to discuss the matter.
A representative of Child Youth and Families Department, the RPD and Roswell Independent School District Superintendent Tom Burris will attend the meeting to discuss bullying with concerned parents.
Bobby Villegas, who coordinated the project to make a bullying hotline available for students, said that there seems to be no real form of disciplinary action for either the schools or the police to take. “The only action the schools can take is a three- to four-day suspension, and that’s like giving a child a vacation.”
According to Villegas, if there are repeat offenses the matter will go the superintendent, but the issue will then be returned to the school principal.
“We need to let the people know that the Police Department and the school district have limitations about what they can do,” Villegas said. “The Police Department can’t just throw a child in jail unless there’s a personal injury involved.”
The goals of the meeting are two-fold — to allow parents to air their grievances and to outline the responsibilities of each group. He pointed out that often the responsibility lies with the parents rather than any government agency. Villegas cited truancy as an example. “If the parents do not take responsibility to make sure a student gets to school, there is little the schools can do.”
He hopes the meeting will bring the groups together, which will allow for positive action. “Once we can get to the point of understanding what everyone’s responsibilities are, then we can get down to solutions.”