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Parents of students in Ringgold School District say school is not safe and demand action

MONONGAHELA, Pa. — Parents of students in the Ringgold School District told Channel 11 they feel helpless and that their children are not safe when they walk into the classroom.

Multiple families shared similar stories of fights breaking out and bullying so bad they’re afraid for the mental and physical health of the kids. Even worse, parents say an Instagram page was created just to highlight the brutal fights — some in school buildings.

“A lot of us are just shocked by what’s going on in the bathrooms and the hallways,” parent Tiffany Stotka tells Channel 11.

Lisa Black-Wysochanski says her daughter is being severely bullied, comes home crying most days and, at just 11, is seeing a counselor.

“It’s not safe to have my kid there,” Black-Wysochanski tells Channel 11. “She’s withdrawn, she’s quiet, there are some depression issues going on.”

Black-Wysochanski says the student bullying her daughter was given a “no contact contract” to leave her daughter alone, but she’s still being targeted daily and sometimes she hears what happened from her daughter — not the school.

“I worry about how she feels,” Black-Wysochanski adds. “I’ve watched her cry in her room. She doesn’t want to go — she doesn’t want to ‘do this’ anymore.  ‘Don’t make me go, it won’t stop, mom it just won’t stop’ she says.”

Channel 11 talked to nearly a dozen parents. One says her son’s knee was fractured when another student kicked him in the hallway. Another pulled their child out of the district and someone else opted for online learning. Every family we talked to says the district isn’t doing enough. The district says it shares the parents’ concerns about what’s in the videos, but says it gives a false impression of the district.

“There aren’t serious consequences to their behavior,” parent, Alisha DiBernardo adds.

“Where are the teachers, where is the security? And the kids doing the bullying — they need to go,” Black-Wysochanski says.

Parents say they’re going to keep fighting for their children’s safety.

“Take care of the problem,” Stotka tells Channel 11. “We want the school to address this problem and us parents aren’t going to stop until it’s dealt with.”

The superintendent of Ringgold School District tells Channel 11 he’s working with Instagram to remove the fight videos, adding they’re not all taking place on school property. As for the no contact contracts, the district says it’s a behavioral management tool to help kids with conflict resolution and learn and grow from their mistakes. The superintendent says that is part of what a school district is created to do.