Chris Lang came with his arm wrapped in a cast and bruises on his left shoulder. He said he has been a victim of bullying for years in the school system. Last week, the bullying turned worse when Lang’s arm was broken in two places.
The group of about two dozen chanted “enough is enough already,” and it’s time for the board to put an end to the violence in local public schools.
Chris Lang said a classmate, who had threatened him before and throughout the PE hour, slammed him with his elbow, knocking him to the floor.
Lang said he received no medical attention as a result of the attack, but that his father, Chris Lang Sr. was eventually called to the school.
“They called me, but what they should have done was call the ambulance,” said Chris Lang Sr., clearly tired and frustrated of the ordeal. “When I got to the school, his arm looked like a dog’s leg, bent out of shape. It was obvious it was broken.”
Chris Lang Sr. said he has made contact several times with the middle school about the harassment his son receives, but still it continues.
Even more frustrating is that the classmate who bullied his son remains in school to this day, the father said.
Lang Sr. said one of the boys responsible for the bullying last week did apologize to the family, but no apologies have been forthcoming from the alleged bully himself or his family.
The student victim said he sees exactly why so many children end up “committing suicide all the time” over bullying. He said he knows how they feel, although he hasn’t taken it to those extremes.
Chris Lang Jr. has an older brother, Corey, who is a 15-year old student at Sumner High, and said he tries his best to stay calm about the matter, though it makes him angry.
“It’s just plain stupid,” Corey said of the bullies.
At approximately 9:15 a.m. Monday and just moments after the gathering began, Tangipahoa Schools Assistant Superintendent Lionel Jackson came outside and asked the family to come in the Central Office and discuss the situation.
Several of Lang’s family went immediately indoors, while a few others stayed outside in protest. Moments later, they said Lang’s principal, Brenda Johnson, was on her way to the Central Office.
The victim's grandmother says she worries about teaching their children to defend themselves, knowing they too could end up getting reprimanded for defending themselves.
“It’s a shame when we have to teach our kids to be mean just to survive in school,” said grandmother Sandy Lang.
In a telephone interview with the Amite Tangi Digest/Tangelena.com on Nov. 5, Jackson said Superintendent Mark Kolwe has implemented an anti-bullying manual now enforced in all Tangipahoa public schools.
Jackson said the manual was put into place to keep children in the school “away from a stress-free environment.“
He said a meeting was held with Chris Lang Sr. last Thursday about the incident, while another meeting was scheduled for 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.
Jackson said as a result of Monday morning’s protest, there were some positives to be had.
“We are now implementing a parent monitoring program,” said Jackson. “With training, parents can come to school and help keep an eye on children throughout the day and in the halls, as an extra set of eyes to monitor the situation”
Jackson said he hopes this pilot program can become an example for other schools across the parish.
The parent monitoring program is scheduled to be in place by Wednesday, Nov. 7, after children return from the Election Day holiday, he said.
“I am working on this project as we speak,” Jackson said.
Jackson added that Sumner Middle School principal Brenda Johnson arrived at the Central Office immediately upon hearing that the Lang family had arrived in protest.
“She showed care and concern” Jackson said of Johnson. “Jewel M. Sumner is a good school. One of the best in the parish.”