C-R moms complain of bullying


By Jim Poole

Three mothers pressed the Cobleskill-Richmondville school board on sensitive issues Monday night:
Bullying, misbehavior on buses and school safety.
Backed by about 10 supporters, Sandra DeLorme spoke on behalf of her son, Logan Bouck, a 10th-grader who is gay.
Other students torment Logan, calling him names, ostracizing him and telling him to kill himself because of his sexual identity, she told the board.
“He has been told gay people go to hell, and that he can’t be Christian if he is gay,” Ms. DeLorme said. “All during class. Again, I would like to reiterate the majority of this all happens in the classroom, under the noses of your staff members.
“Logan has been cornered in the weight room, he’s been circled in the cafeteria. . .”
Afterward, Ms. DeLorme said she “has nothing against” school officials but wants action before the situation becomes more serious.
“I can’t get anyone to do anything except talk,” she said.
“I want to make sure my son stays alive. Teen suicide is a real thing.”
Superintendent Matt Sickles and board members didn’t respond at the meeting, and Mr. Sickles said Tuesday he was limited in what he could say.
He described Logan’s circumstances to be more complicated than most.
Administrators have been “working tirelessly” on the issue, Mr. Sickles said.
“Sometimes people perceive this as a lack of progress,” he added. “The district wants everyone to feel safe and comfortable.”
Anna Rehberg, the second speaker, addressed the school board on bus misbehavior last month, urging C-R to have an aide or monitor on each bus.
She repeated that plea Monday, saying her son has been mistreated on his bus.
“What happens to my son happens on your time, not mine,” Ms. Rehberg said.
Board members didn’t respond, and on Tuesday, Mr. Sickles said C-R is looking into bus aides.
Because of a shortage of bus drivers, some routes are long, raising the possibility of more issues while traveling.
“The length of the runs is an issue,” Mr. Sickles said, “and we’re cashing out what it would cost for an aide on every bus.”
C-R is looking into “other strategies,” including having students in assigned bus seats, he added.
The third speaker, Stephanie Olsen-Mazzarella, said C-R should have metal detectors in every school building to increase safety.
Installing metal detectors would increase taxes, “but who cares? We want our kids to be safe,” Ms. Olsen-Mazzarella said.
Metal detectors have pros and cons, Mr. Sickles said Tuesday.
Advancing school safety is a priority, and that’s one reason he brought up adding a school resource officer several months ago, Mr. Sickles said.
C-R is still looking into an SRO for the high school, but even if the board approves the measure, the expense won’t be included in the upcoming 2023-24 budget, Mr. Sickles said.