ALMA (WJRT) - (05/18/17) - Students of a Mid-Michigan high school staged a walkout to protest what they say is a chronic bullying problem in the school system.
Some 50 people, a vast majority of them students, marched out of Alma High School just before lunchtime Thursday, upset that their pleas to end the bullying haven't been heard.
Chants of "fight for what's right" rang out as students lined the streets in front of Alma High School.
"It's never ending and my friend actually committed suicide when he was in his seventh grade year, and people just wanted to think it was funny after he did it, and even this morning when we were talking about doing this, everyone wanted to make jokes about it and it's not OK," said student Jonah Osborn. "I mean, when is enough going to be enough? When the next kid harms himself?"
Osborn is a victim of bullying herself. Along with other students and parents, like April Buckner, Osborn wanted to help stage a walkout to give students a voice.
Buckner says she's been so frustrated and worried for her child that she's decided to take additional action and remove her freshman daughter from the school.
"I have removed her from Alma High School," she said. "They are telling kids to kill themselves, telling them they're trash. It's not just the kids. It's the teachers, too," Buckner said.
"I've worked for the school system 26 years and never had this problem all the time I've worked for the schools. It's really gotten bad," said Sally Mullet, a former Alma Schools employee.
Mullet says her granddaughter might take online classes now, but she will not be going back to Alma High. Parents say they've heard of at least 11 students being pulled out of school because of the bullying.
"The school needs to wake up and realize that there's people out there that is...they think football and basketball and all these sports are better than the people below them and it's unacceptable," said student Dione Trembath.
The school system says they have policy and administrative guidelines about bullying. In fact, the interim superintendent tells ABC12 News that on all levels, their staff annually participates in training to deal with bullying.
Students told ABC12 News they were threatened with suspension for leaving the school to protest.