Parents speak out against bullying at school board meeting

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - 12-year-old Gabriella Green died on January 10th. Monday, two 12-year-old children were charged with cyberstalking after Panama City Beach Police began investigating Green's death. Beach police say the two children charged confessed to engaging in conduct knowing it would cause her emotional distress. Police say the investigation did not reveal cyberbullying as the sole cause of Green's death, but it was going on at the time of her death.

At Tuesday afternoon's Bay District school board meeting, many parents showed up to speak out against bullying, which they say is common throughout Bay District Schools.

"It effects so many of our children. Gabby Green was 12 years-old. I have a 12-year old," said April Thompson, who spoke at the school board meeting.

"Really we feel that Gabby wasn't just the Green's daughter. This could have been any of our kids. This could have been my daughter last year when she was being bullied," said Steve Strout, who also spoke at the school board meeting.

School board members listened to parents concerns and complaints. Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt told us he's been thinking of Green's tragic death.

"I've been praying for Gabby's family every day. I can't imagine the hurt and pain they're going through. Looking forward, I mean, I'm not sure how we could have stopped that knowing what limits we knew of what was going on," said Superintendent Husfelt.

Some parents complained their children's bullies were not being properly punished.

"At school, can't we keep some places safe? We need to do more," said Thompson.

"We've got to get better at educating parents, we've got to get better at educating teachers, we've got to get better at educating administrators, get better at educating students. It's a monumental task," said Superintendent Husfelt.

School Board Chair Ginger Littleton says the board will look into parents' suggestions, but there is no guarantee bullying will completely go away.

"Now a days you can say anything you want to to pretty much anyone you want to. Kids don't understand the danger and they don't understand that words do hurt," said Chair Ginger Littleton.

If you'd like to watch NewsChannel7's live stream of the school board meeting it is attached to this article.