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Greenfield family sounds alarm on bullying, met by police

Greenfield family sounds alarm on bullying

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — The dad of a fourth grade Greenfield Intermediate School student says he went to the school to report bullying and ended up being escorted out by police. 

Justin Henderson is the father of 10-year-old Josh Henderson, who was Sammy Teusch’s best friend. Teusch died by suicide earlier this month after relentless physical and mental bullying

Sammy Teusch and Justin Henderson (Provided Photo/Henderson family)

Justin said his son has experienced that same level of bullying since he first began attending the school. Because of this, the family has been in consistent communication with the school about their concerns. Their communication has continued after Teusch’s passing, and the bullying has grown worse. 

“It’s kind of been a constant battle with them,” Justin said. “When we do have issues, they don’t reach back out or they want to reschedule a meeting, reschedule a meeting, we get pushed to the back burner.”

About two weeks ago, shortly after Teusch died, Josh was taken to the emergency room by his parents after a bullying incident.

Josh Henderson bullying injury (Provided Photo/Henderson family)

“He came home two weeks in a row with two different head injuries,” Justin said. 

This prompted the family to again reach out to the school for help. 

“I figured it would be time to meet with them about bullying, and they had a police officer waiting for me when I got there,” Justin said. 

Despite Justin having been told to leave the school after the meeting, he felt as though school leaders may end up addressing some of the concerns they voiced. 

As the days went on, the bullying continued. Justin continued to reach out to the school via phone. 

On May 17, Justin’s wife received a phone call from the school about her son’s attendance. Justin says Josh has been slow to return to school full-time as he grieves the loss of Teusch. 

Upon receiving that call, the Hendersons went to the school and asked to meet with specific administrators. Justin also planned to hand in a report chronicling a recent bullying incident Josh had experienced. 

The ability to report was recently made known to Justin after Teusch’s death. 

Because of this, he said he wanted to hand in the report as he met with administration about the absence issue. 

According to a recorded interaction between a school worker and Justin, he made the request and was asked to take a seat in the school office. 

“In about five minutes, ten minutes time, a Greenfield police officer and a Hancock County Sheriff came around the corner and asked why was I still sitting there,” Justin said. “I was asked to leave.”

The school issued a statement to News 8. They say they called the Hendersons about the absence issue and asked that they schedule a meeting. They go on to say the family showed up unannounced and was disruptive. 

The school’s full statement is below: 

“On May 17th, the Henderson family was called by a school administrator at Greenfield Intermediate School to discuss an educational record specific to their child. The parents were asked to set up a meeting to address that matter, which had nothing to do with bullying. The parents refused to set a meeting with school staff at that time. Instead,  the parents came to school unannounced that afternoon and demanded to speak with the principal about an unrelated matter. The school administrators were both working with other students/families at the time the Hendersons arrived. They were told that they could make an appointment for a later time or they could wait in the office.  They chose to wait in the office.  While they were waiting to see the principal, the parents became disruptive in the outer office.  A school resource officer in the area suggested that the parents leave the school and set an appointment for another time.  In that setting they could discuss both matters; the educational record and an event that happened on the school bus. Greenfield Intermediate School Administrators followed up with the family on the same day the parents’ shared their concern. The claim was investigated by administrators and the school School Resource Officer. A conversation with Mr. Henderson was held via phone with the school SRO and school administration. At the end of the meeting, the claim was determined to be unfounded. The parents also made an appointment with school administration to discuss the original matter.  That meeting was held with the administration on Monday, May 20th.”

Dr. Harold Olin, superintendent of schools for Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation

The family emphasized a history of interaction with the school and claim the leadership has been manipulative toward them in recent history. 

Aside from the back-and-forth with the school, Justin said he is focused on his son’s well-being, especially in light of Teusch’s passing. He also said his son is unable to be alone after that passing, saying he’s told him he “could do the same thing” as Teusch.