Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Debbie Dujanovic ReportingShauna Miller, Mother: “They push him down, jump on his back, knock him over.”
Behavior on school playgrounds -- an Eyewitness News Investigation is mobilizing parents all over Utah. They don't like what they see; they want more done. An Eyewitness News Investigation into problems on school playgrounds is getting widespread response again today.
At the least parents are demanding duty monitors "walk" the playgrounds to keep kids safe. After seeing our video of what can go on during school recess, some tell us they'll do their own spot-checks to make sure the school's doing enough. And they're upset at a system that allows schools to put hundreds of kids on the playground with little supervision.
Since first showing you the video from schools we monitored, people have called wanting to go on camera with their stories. This former substitute teacher is one -- he calls recess duty chaotic.
Paul Conlin, Former Substitute Teacher: “You’re looking at probably 200 kids on average per one or two people to watch.”
A parent who's child attends one of the schools we observed for our reports writes to us about the lapses, "usually it's only one adult and she is constantly being distracted by the kids who spend their whole recess time talking to her….I think we definitely need more adults outside, they need to be doing their job".
We've heard from teachers today who want principals to be consistent take a hard-line with this type of behavior. And a PTA president writes, "Rarely actions such as suspension or expulsion is used to curb bad behavior.”
Parents of victims are calling too. On Monday Shauna Miller's second grade son slipped out of school unnoticed and walked home.
Shauna Miller, Victim's Mother: “I asked him, ‘Why are you home from school?’ And he said, ‘I can’t take it anymore.’ He said, ‘I’ve had it.’ I asked him what had happened and it was ‘cause of bullying on the playground.”
In light of our stories, the Granite School District is encouraging parents to call a special hotline if a principal's not dealing with complaints. That number is 685-4510.
Tonight at 10:00 our investigation continues. Some schools have cured this kind of behavior -- how did they do it? And a child's message: what it's like to go through school afraid.