Bellevue community members and the family of a 9-year-old girl, whose anti-bullying video reached over 13 million people, took the complaint to the Bellevue School Board meeting Tuesday.
Nasir Andrews just completed the fourth grade at Ardmore Elementary School. In her video that was posted on June 15, Nasir detailed her experiences.
“At school, I was choked, hit, punched in the face and pushed … I have been called ‘Nutella’ and ‘Servant,’” said Andrews, a black student who was bullied for the entire school year, her family said.
Nasir’s parents, Travis and Chantey Andrews, claim that school administrators didn’t do enough to stop the bullying and believe that the school fosters a bullying culture.
They have been trying to work with the school and district representatives, but have now taken the issue to the Bellevue School Board with the hope the district will take steps to protect students and train teachers and officials to help terminate bullying.
Nicole Manero, a parent of an Ardmore Elementary student, was the first to speak out of support for Nasir and her family during the public comments section of the meeting.
“There’s resources that we need the district to provide. We’ve asked for aids to support supervision, in the upper grades for example, and have been told it’s a policy that the district doesn’t provide aids for the younger grades. I’m here to say that there’s very real problems with bullying that happen when we don’t have enough supervision,” she said. “[We need] greater transparency and working relationships with parents and the school learning how to report incidents, how the district handles them and how they’re investigated would benefit all of our community.”
Travis Andrews proposed the need for a change in policy in how the district trains its staff and how it handles bullying.
“How many gun pictures need to be drawn before there is an actual shooting? How many cries for help must one display before life becomes too much? How many suicide attempts is too many? How many deaths is enough? We say this is enough now and we’re ready to do whatever it takes to change it,” he said.
Ricardo Bland, a public safety officer at Seattle University, spoke directly to Nasir during the meeting.
“On your first day back to school, I’d like to do something for you. I’d like to bring you lunch in the show of solidarity,” he said.
As Bland continued, he stressed the importance of having a safe school environment.
“Administrators of Ardmore, I implore you to respond to the reports of bullying in a helpful matter. It is a school’s responsibility to create and manage a safe environment for our children and we are all here for one reason: to ensure neither Nasir or any other child gets harmed or any violence comes into the school.”
The district released the following statement to the Reporter:
“We are dedicated to creating an environment where children have a sense of belonging and connection with their teachers and classmates. We are committed to providing a safe and respectful educational environment that is free from harassment, intimidation or bullying.
“The district generally does not comment on matters involving specific students.”