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School board refuses to hear bullying comments in wake of suicide investigation

Concerned citizen speaks out on behalf of students
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 7:49 PM CDT
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CORNING, Ark. (KAIT) - The Corning School Board President and Superintendent have refused to let members of the public speak at school board meetings regarding the issue of bullying.

The issue of bullying has been a hot topic in the Clay County town after the recent suicide of a student. Her parents say bullying led to her death.

Last week, we reported the Clay County Sheriff’s department was investigating the death of Jaden Farmer. Since then, we’ve learned the school board is blocking citizens from speaking on bullying at school board meetings.

Dr. Rocky Haynes is a Behavior Analyst who attended Corning High School in the early 2000s. He said he tried to speak on his experience being bullied at Corning before the board shut him down.

At first, his request was denied because he did not submit it within seven days of the meeting.

So he tried again.

His second request was also denied as the board refused to hear any comment about bullying or the investigation.

He said what’s happening goes beyond bullying, and something needs to be done about it.

“What’s happening to these kids in Corning is nothing close to teasing. These kids are being harassed,” Hayes said. “This is full-out harassment and borderline torture for some of these individuals.”

Tricia Farmer is Jaden’s mother. She echoed the sentiment in an interview last week.

“There are so many kids that have reached out saying they were getting bullied. And I do worry about some of the other kids because it’s just an awful thing,” Farmer said.

The Corning School District released a statement over the issue, saying in part:

“The loss of this student occurred off-campus with the investigation undertaken by local law enforcement. The district has not received the result of that investigation nor has it received any indication that bullying was involved. The district has turned down requests to speak about the loss and bullying out of respect for the family and the district’s students. As I said before, any discussion of the particular student is not permitted before the board.”

This is an ongoing story. For the latest updates, visit KAIT8.com or the Region 8 News app.

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