Thorp students stage walkout to protest bullying

Thorp students held a walkout and protest over the school district's handling of a recent...
Thorp students held a walkout and protest over the school district's handling of a recent bullying incident.(Max Cotton)
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 6:35 PM CDT
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THORP, Wis. (WEAU) - Instead of being in class, Thorp students and parents gathered in the school’s parking lot Thursday morning to rally against bullying.

They’re upset at a recent incident involving football players. A middle school student was bullied by his teammates and many students and parents say their punishment wasn’t harsh enough.

A student said the boy was held down while his fellow teammates exposed their buttocks and passed gas near his face. He was also hit with broken yard sticks and a belt.

It’s believed the student athletes were disciplined with in-school suspension and made to wash windows and tables.

“Just the lack of punishment for what did happen and that like us parents who have kids inside these walls don’t even know that this stuff is going on. This should be communicated,” Thorp parent Kristy Anderson said.

The victim’s mother, Elizabeth Winger agrees the punishment wasn’t harsh enough.

“The punishment didn’t match the crime and there was no healing and growing in that incident,” she said.

Thorp High School senior Kaci Satterstrom was so angered by the lack of punishment she decided to organize the walkout.

“I just felt like the kid deserved more justice than anything that happened to them,” she said.

Satterstrom said she plans to be at future Thorp Board of Education meetings to pursue further change.

"I want the school board to rethink their policies,” she said. “I will be attending those meetings and I will make sure there’s something that changes about this bullying policy.”

Thorp School District Administrator Paul Blanford was at the rally. He said it was upsetting to hear other bullying stories.

“It was hard for me to hear being a new administrator here in Thorp, but, you know, I was out there to listen to our students and I definitely heard what they said,” he said.

This is Blanford’s first full school year as in charge.

He wouldn’t comment directly on the recent incident but said school officials will reevaluate the punishment.

The Thorp school board met with district administrators in an executive session Thursday night to discuss the situation.

Winger said her kids have moved to a new school in a different district.

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