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Fosston Bus Driver Responds to Bullying Allegation - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fosston Bus Driver Responds to Bullying Allegation

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UPDATE: 5/12/14

The attorney of the bus driver in question emailed a statement to us tonight in which the bus driver who was referenced in the video responds to the accusations made by the mother and the kids:

"My name is Oran Underdahl. I’ve been a bus driver with Fosston Public Schools for six years. I have an impeccable safety record and no disciplinary history. I love my job and the kids that I have been privileged to serve. The outpouring of support from Fosston kids and families in the wake of allegations that I have bullied and/or allowed students to be bullied on my bus route has been overwhelming, and I am truly grateful for it. 

Twice a day, I drive 40+ kids to and from school. I take pride in my work, and I have genuine concern for the students who ride my bus. I have never knowingly allowed a student to be “bullied” on my bus. I have never “bullied” a student on my bus (or anywhere else for that matter). I am confident that one day the truth of this situation will be uncovered and will become known to the public. For now, I will rely on my family, friends, and community for support as I evaluate a potential legal claim against those who have made defamatory statements about me.

Thank you,

Oran Underdahl"

ORIGINAL STORY

Every school deals with bullying to some degree. But you may have never seen a community reaction quite like this. In a last ditch effort to get a response from the Fosston public school district, a mom posted a video on the Valley News Live's Facebook page, hoping to blow the whistle on this issue. The video has gone viral in which her children describe the alleged bullying and how painful it can be. Valley News team's Eric Crest investigates the heart wrenching story of one little girl and her family so that we can all learn something about bullying.

You're watching a video that has already been shared on Facebook more than 10 thousand times in less than 24 hours.

"How's it make you feel inside when these kids keep doing it? Sad...and it hurts my feelings," says the little girl on her facebook post.

This third grade girl's brother has to describe what the bullying at school is like for his big sister as she cries her eyes out.

"This guy on the playground said your gonna die by suicide and they called me a son of a *** and a mother ***," says the girl's little brother.

Her mother Sarah Cymbaluk says that she has had to deal with her daughters lowest points consistently the last several months.

"You tell her you're stronger than that. Better than that. You tell them their worth something. Because they feel they're worth nothing. Tell them there's adults and people to help you. The school will help you," says Cymbaluk with tears streaming down her face.

But Mark Nohner, the Fosston Superintendent says this just landed on his radar. Despite these parents claim that they've been trying to get something done about the bullying since December.

"I found out about the situation a couple of days ago and I think it could have been resolved without going to Facebook," says Nohner.

But Cymbaluk says her daughter has visited her elementary principle nearly a half dozen times to describe what she's dealing with on the school bus and on the playground. 

"She's been called into the principal and made to feel like it's her fault. She's been told to ignore it and disregard and to basically stuff your emotions down and get on with your life," says Cymbaluk.

"Can you tell me how many times you went in and told the principle. Like five.. What did they do about it? Nothing," says Cymbaluk talking with her daughter on the Facebook video.

Today school officials admitted, that they dropped the ball in some respects.

"Obviously somewhere down the line it feel through the cracks. So we need to review our procedures and policies and do a better job articulating to the parents what we're doing," says Nohner.

Because today two parents and a couple of kids are dealing with a problem that isn't just happening in Fosston, but across schools everywhere. And Cymbaluk's daughter just hopes the message of her pain helps other kids understand how painful bullying can be.

"She said you know what I want. I want it to never happen to another kid again," says Cymbaluk.

The school is looking into bullying allegations against a bus driver as well as a student. But because of student confidentiality laws the school says they can't elaborate on what disciplinary action could come against the alleged student bullies. Meanwhile, the family and Anna, the little girl who claims to have been bullied, hopes that all the students in Fosston will wear orange on Tuesday to show support for all kids who are bullied. Tuesday also happens to be her birthday and she would love to celebrate it with everyone showing like minded support. 
Original Story...

What appears to be a desperate mother's plea for help has gone viral online.  A mother in Fosston, Minnesota, posted a video of her children to the Valley News Live Facebook page asking for our help. The video accuses a Fosston School District bus driver of bullying children and also describes other bullying allegations against students.

The students in the video claim they've talked to school officials several times and are told to "just ignore it."  They also say they've talked to a member of the sheriff's office.

Since the video was posted, it has been shared more than 9,000 times and the superintendent of Fosston Public Schools tells us his voicemail and e-mail inbox are full of angry messages.  The mother who posted the video says she has also received hate messages from parents after posting the emotional video.

Valley News Team's Eric Crest is in Fosston today investigating the serious allegations explained in this video. You can catch the story Thursday night on Valley News Live.
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