KAUKAUNA - A Facebook post on bullying continues to spread around the world. And Thursday the father of the alleged victim says this issue is bigger than his son and his school.
"I don't want this to be about me, I don't want this to be about my son, I don't want this to be about the bully, I want this to be about the bigger issue here," said Matt Bent of Kaukauna.
That bigger issue has been the talk of Kaukauna and beyond. Thursday more parents are speaking out about bullying issues in the district.
A father's picture with his son has been shared more than 350,000 times since Tuesday.
The Facebook post put Matt Bent and allegations his son was bullied at school in the spotlight. Thursday Bent told FOX 11 the incident happened Monday during a 6th grade gym class at River View Middle School. Bent says a student picked up his son and body slammed him onto a wrestling mat away from the view of the teacher.
"While I'm upset that it happened, this one small issue kind of lit a fire and it sparked a spotlight on the bigger worldwide problem," said Bent.
A problem others say exists at other schools in Kaukauna as well.
"Name calling, yelling, she was tripped, she was pushed, thrown into lockers," said Theresa Smith of Kaukauna.
Smith says she filed a number of complaints with the district, including what she says is proof of harassing text messages her daughter received from students.
"I had to pull her out at semester. She just, emotionally, physically could not do it no more," said Smith.
Smith, like Bent, says the district didn't do enough. Kaukauna Area School District Superintendent Mark Duerwaechter told FOX 11 he did not wish to talk on Thursday. But on Wednesday, he said the district takes reports of bullying very seriously.
"Kaukauna Area School District follows up on every reported situation of bullying that we receive," said Duerwaechter on Wednesday.
Duerwaechter said the school and the district immediately launched a thorough investigation when Bent's complaint came in Tuesday morning. He said the district is sending letters to parents detailing it's response to Bent's accusations and how the district handles allegations of bullying. And he stressed the district is doing everything it can.
"We are working hard on it, that is not evidence that we are protecting bullies and victimizing the victims," said Bent.
An effort and a message Bent says he wants to be shared the world over.
"This is bigger than anything I could have ever imagined and I want to turn the attention away from the local dispute and turn it into more of lets shed some light on the bigger issue," said Bent.
The superintendent said the letters to parents went out Thursday. He says for the sake of everyone involved, the district hopes to have its investigation wrapped up in the next few days.
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