Student drops out of school due to bullying

By TODD A. HEYWOOD

The Bay City Times is reporting that 17-year-old Cassandra Morris has dropped out of Ogemaw Heights schools because of bullying based on her sexual orientation.

Morris came out to her friends and family last year, which resulted in a series of escalating bullying incidents, including a July incident in which her tires were slashed, sausage was spread throughout her car and an explicit message was scrawled on the car. Police interviewed two people in connection with the incident, but have made no arrests.

The final straw for Morris was Oct. 1, when she said she was the victim of an unprovoked attack. She said she fought back against her attacker to protect herself. But school officials tell the Bay City Times that their policies require them to suspend any student involved in a fight that throws a punch.

The district is defending its bulling policies. District Superintendent David Martsen had this to say to the paper, "Our high school takes bullying very seriously. We do follow up on issues and seek what remedies to put into place.

"Do we have bullying? Yes, we do. Are there consequences for bullying? Yes, there are."

Marsten said there is a program set up at Ogemaw Heights called "Mean Girls" that deals specifically with bullying within the female population.

"We do teach tolerance for differences (in students)," said Marsten.

Morris will attend Delta Community College to get her GED and begin college classes in January, the paper reports.

The story hits as a national movement arises to addressing bullying and what activists have called an "epidemic" of suicides related to bullying.

This story originally reported at http://www.michiganmessenger.com
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