By Bill Spinks
A mother of three who lives in Midlothian Independent School District is concerned about bullying in the school district — and wants to force the district to do a better job of monitoring and documenting it.
Michelle Luna-McGimsey has three children — a senior, a freshman and a kindergartner — enrolled in MISD. Two years ago, she said, there were several bullying incidents that disappointed her.
Luna-McGimsey is a founding member of a new parent organization, titled Midlothian Parents. The mission of the group is the four E’s: enlighten, educate, engage and eliminate. The group already has a website, www.midlothianparents.org, that she hopes will become a "one-stop shop" for bullying in the district.
"I know they don’t monitor (bullying) and stay on top of that like they should," Luna-McGimsey said. "The Google Doc that they have that’s the link towards reporting is just not sufficient enough."
Luna-McGimsey is pushing for MISD to adopt an app called Stop It, which she said is one of the priorities in her organization’ campaign. She says Frisco ISD uses it with 60,000 students and staff at a cost of about $1 per student. Many other larger districts also utilize it.
"What do our kids have in their hands 24/7? Smartphones," she said. "Why not leverage the latest technology to help our kids?"
What Luna-McGimsey said motivated her to take a more active role against bullying was the publication in June of photos in which an MISD board member was shown in blackface at a Halloween party about a decade ago. The board member, Tami Tobey, admitted that what she did was wrong but refused to resign.
"Our current system is bare minimums," Luna-McGimsey said. "Actually there is no performance tracker from last year. National statistics from 2019 state one out of every five students report bullying. The Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center alone reports school district victims as of 2019 was 10 percent in MISD."
Luna-McGimsey said she will be running for election to the MISD board in May 2021.
"I love Midlothian," she said. "I love our teachers and staff. But we’re not perfect, and I believe we can do better … I care about our community, our kids deserve better, our community deserves better. Our children deserve a positive school climate and a safe learning environment. I stand for anti-bullying, discipline, safety and security, and social-emotional learning. And most of all, I stand for the kids."