By Carmen Montes, Reporter / Spanish Webcast Anchor - email
You send your kids off to school, thinking it's a safe place to be, but when bullies come between your kids and their education, schools have a responsibility to get involved.
In fact, Nebraska requires all schools to have an anti–bullying policy, but that doesn't mean they are all the same. Nebraska scores a B-minus for its bullying laws, according to a national website. And, those laws only apply to schools.
Before a brutal attack outside of school, Frida Aguilera de la Torre says she was bullied inside Irving Middle School in Lincoln. She feared it would get worse when her classmates saw her bruises.
"I was panicked, mostly all the time, I mean I didn't know if people were going to make fun of me in the hallways, didn't know if she was going to confront me; I mean I was scared," Frida said as she described her situation as school.
After several attempts to get an interview with Lincoln Public Schools about their bullying policy, NTV’s requests were denied.
Barr Middle School in Grand Island says bullying is not tolerated there, where every day kids recite the purple hands pledge, that they won't use their hands or words to hurt others.
Barr Middle School principal Brian Kort says, "It's a no bullying policy, we do a lot of things to kind of reinforce that with our students."
Barr Middle School not only provides help from their counselors, a resource officer and a social worker, but also a bullying tip hotline.
"We are able to follow up and find out a few more details on it and the kid doesn't feel like he's a snitch because he reported something he saw at breakfast or at lunch," Kort said.
Frida’s attorney, Thomas Inkeelar described her case as one that started to escalate even off school grounds, "It was a process that was beginning, that started with an attack and was starting to fit the class of what we call cyber–bullying."
That's an issue some schools, like Barr, are including in their policies. "A lot of those with social media and a lot of that is a teaching point for kids, what they can and can't do," said Kort.
Barr has three basic rules for students: Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible. And if they aren't, consequences range from offering an apology to suspension.
Kort not only wants his students to understand what bullying does, but also how it makes people feel. Most importantly, he wants them to report it, saying kids can't learn if they don't feel safe.
"Bottom line, that's what it's about -- being safe, and bullying doesn't keep our building safe for our students."
But Frida simply wants bullying to stop. "What they are doing is not right."
Frida's story has inspired state senators to get involved and they hope to be able to bring something to the table that will not only strengthen the current anti-bullying law in place, but also cover those cases that happen away from school.