In public plea, Plaistow elementary school student calls on school officials to tackle bullyingBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent
June 11. 2018 9:31PM
PLAISTOW — A fifth-grade student at Pollard School who says she’s been threatened with violence is being praised for speaking out after she gave a powerful speech about her personal struggles with bullying to the Timberlane Regional School Board last week.
Fighting back tears, 11-year-old Delanie Marcotte sat before the school board at its meeting June 7 and called on officials to address bullying in the school district.
Delanie’s brief remarks drew applause by members of the board and audience and a response from Superintendent Dr. Earl Metzler.
“I am here to talk about a problem that means a lot to me: Bullying. Bullying is a problem in our school. I am a victim of it. My parents have contacted the school about it but it continues. It happened to me and my classmates. I have been asked by the mother of my bully during a school field trip why I tried to get her son in trouble. I have been threatened to get shot in the head by an AK-47 and buried in my backyard and many other things. I ask you, what are you going to do to protect me and my classmates against bullying? I am here to stand up for every kid that gets bullied,” Delanie told the board during a public comment period near the beginning of the meeting.
“We’re very proud of you for coming,” board Chairwoman Susan Sherman told Delanie.
Many have taken to social media to commend Delanie for sharing her experience.
Amy Marcotte, Delanie’s mother, said Monday that she’s heard only positive feedback since her daughter’s plea. She also met with school officials Monday morning to discuss the bullying issue.
“An investigation was done into the bullying. I’m just hoping at this point it finally stops,” she said.
According to Marcotte, officials were addressing her daughter’s bullying concerns before she met with the board. However, she said Delanie still wanted to speak publicly.
“Her hope, which surprises me more than anything, is she just doesn’t want this for any other kids,” Marcotte said.
Metzler said the district supports “student voice.” He said student voice was one of the goals for this school year because it’s a “powerful way for students to tell us what we need to hear.”
“We will continue to encourage all students to speak up when they see, hear or experience something that makes them uncomfortable. The same holds true for parents and community members,” Metzler said in a statement.
He said there are many ways to share concerns, including the public comment portion of school board meetings.
“We take all of our stakeholders’ concerns seriously and will give her concerns our undivided attention,” he said.
VIDEO: Delanie Marcotte addresses the Timberlane Regional School Board (Delanie's speech begins shortly after the 3 minutes, 15 second mark):
Sherman and Kelly Ward, the board’s vice chairman, issued a joint statement Monday saying that after last week’s meeting the alleged bullying complaint was immediately forwarded to district administrators and is being reviewed through an “established process for addressing bullying complaints, as defined by state law and school district policy.” The superintendent is also monitoring the process.
In their statement, Sherman and Ward said school officials take bullying seriously and that the district is “committed to promoting anti-bullying preventative strategies to ensure that each student is provided a safe learning environment and, to that end, has sponsored numerous anti-bullying initiatives.”
They encouraged student to speak to teachers, guidance counselors or principals if they have concerns about bullying or harassment.