Choctaw-Nicoma Park Schools and local police working together to combat bullying
By Ryan Horton
A recent act of violence in the Choctaw High School parking lot has many in the community focused on reducing bullying and fighting within the school district.
Public outcry grew over the weekend after videos of the alleged assault, involving several minors, was posted on social media.
What was described as long-term bullying turned assault was already an ongoing investigation by school officials and police.
Police say the incident resulted in two minors facing charges in court later this month.
Choctaw-Nicoma Park and police officials say they’ve been working in recent years to address bullying and violence and will continue their efforts.
The Choctaw Police Department started citing students involved in fights with disorderly conduct two years ago, which officials say has already reduced fights by 70 percent.
Police say in response to recent happenings, they’re partnering with school district administration to take even further action.
“Over the weekend, I thought about what the police department could do as an agency in light of the video of an assault of a student on Facebook. I have spoken to Superintendent David Reid and Principal Jackie Harris who have approved our changes,” said Choctaw Police Chief Kelly Marshall.
Those changes include charging a determined aggressor with assault, and requiring a “First Time Offenders Class.” That would be an eight-hour course and a $601 fine.
“For the past two years the Choctaw Police Department has cited students for disorderly conduct who have been involved in fights on school grounds; this has reduced assaults by 70 percent. Depending on the actual occurrence and if the school resource officer can determine the aggressor a student may be charged with assault,” said Marshall.
“I spoke with our City Attorney and our Municipal Judge who are on board with having the student and parent attend a ‘First time Offenders Class’ given by Tri-City Youth and Family Services. This class is eight hours long and has a bullying component in it. If it is determined the offender has been involved with fights previously, Tri-City has another class that may include anger management, this is in addition to any fines that may be assessed. The fine for Disorderly Conduct is $561 and Assault is $601.”
Marshall says Tri-City Youth and Family Services, located on NE 23rd Street in Choctaw, provides valuable community services.
She says her department along with the school district will be working to ensure parents and students feel safe in Choctaw-Nicoma Park.
“Tri-City also has a counselor who may have bullying curriculum that he and officer Reed can present to the elementary and middle school students. Officer Reed will be meeting with him in the next few days. October is the month that highlights ‘No Bullying.’ The school Counselors have presentations they will be giving to students. Officer Reed discussed with school officials about placing a box in the cafeteria where students can leave notes for her or school staff if they are being bullied. Both school resource officers will create an email that students may email them if they feel threatened, if they hear a fight is going to happen, if they are being bullied or if they are depressed and need to talk. Officer Fox is trained in crisis intervention (which is a response to mental health) and officer Reed will attend the 40-hour training soon,” explained Marshall.
“I have a motto within the department of ‘We are not going to be just report takers, we will be solution makers if at all possible.’ We as law enforcement and school officials have been and will continue to meet to provide solutions for our students,” said Marshall.
Note: Some details of the alleged crime and suspects are left out as all involved were under the age of 18.