Years ago it was said that kids can't learn if hungry; we also need to add they can't learn if bullied.
The Ledger has published several articles about bullying at Sleepy Hill Middle School, though the school tried to play down the severity of the problem.
The message sent is we won't help you until after the fact, after you get beaten up. To add insult to injury, there is little or no punishment for the bully, just counseling. They would blame the victim, if they could.
If you look at the school boundaries, this is a school in north Lakeland that goes as far south as Airport Road. Also parents who live next to Southwest Middle School have to send their kids to this troubled school. Most people want to stay out of high crime areas, but that is Sleepy Hill to a tee. Parents assume their kids will be protected anyway, but they are not.
What to do? Bypass the school system completely. Parents should go directly to law enforcement. Kids' legal rights don't end on school grounds. If the school system knew beforehand a bullying incident was going to happen, a lawsuit could be appropriate.
Dan Shetterly, Lakeland