Another teen speaks about bullying at school some say has troubling trend

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School bullying happens everywhere, and not just to people in marginalized groups.

As 13 Investigates continues its series: Bullied to the Brink, another North Country teen, Isabelle Reynolds, said she’s being targeted simply because she’s considered an outsider.

NewsChannel 13 first told you about Grayson Barrachina, the transgender teen who says he was tormented at Hartford High School so seriously, he ended up transferring to another district.

For Isabelle, she moved to the Hartford School District from Hudson Falls when she was a 3rd grader.
Isabelle and her mom, Rebecca, found Hartford to be a tight-knit school community. Maybe a little too tight-knit.

“A majority of staff are members that have lived in Hartford for life,” Rebecca said.

“If your parents don’t work at the school, you’ll face bullying from one time or the other. It happens to a lot of kids,” Isabelle said.

Both of them say the bullying started when she enrolled at Hartford, but it got worse in fifth grade. When other students played a nasty trick on Isabelle. She developed PTSD and anxiety.

“There was a student that sent Isabelle a message on social media stating that they were an adult male outside her bedroom window watching her,” Rebecca said. “It scared her, and it progressed with some online bullying,”

Isabelle said there are a few teachers and staff members she has found as allies, but she gives upper management a failing grade when it comes to dealing with the bullying issue.

“It really is the higher-ups in the school are the main problems,” Isabelle said.

Now Isabelle is in the process of starting an anti-bullying and inclusion group, and she has some suggestions for upper management:

“Definitely how mental health was handled in the elementary, because I think mental health starts when you’re a little kid,” Isabelle said. “It’s scary to ask for help, especially when you’re little. When you ask for help, and you get told that couldn’t have happened, you’re going to be scared to ever speak up again.”

Isabelle and Rebecca both say multiple DASA reports, dignity for all students, have been filed, and it requires an investigation. However, they say the vast majority of complaints are labeled unfounded.

Meanwhile, Andrew Cook, the superintendent of the Hartford School District, said the district meets with all people involved in any complaint and discusses the next best steps.

Even though bullying happens in all schools, a local child psychologist says if your child is being bullied, there are things right now that parents can do.

Learn about what they are by watching the video of Tessa Bentulan’s story.

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