Voices speak out at Hannibal open forum on bullying

Parents have had it with bullying at school. But what to do about it and how to fix the problem were just some of the questions brought up Tuesday night at a public forum in Hannibal.Last month, we brought you the story of Wes Neff.His 13-year-old son has a form of autism and was bullied at school in Hannibal.That story resulted in the public forum held at the Knights of Columbus hall in Hannibal.KHQA's Rajah Maples spoke with a couple of parents about the forum and bullying.One mother told participants that her son was bullied repeatedly before graduating from Hannibal High School last year. But she said she was diligent with the school system when her son was having problems.

Another mother took her daughter out of school earlier this year and is now home-schooling her.

Hannibal school administrators were on hand to discuss what they can and can't do when a possible bullying situation comes up.

Meanwhile, other parents talked about how the real problem ultimately starts at home.

Ashlee Fessenden said, "A lot of parents tend to blame the school system, but we need to be careful about doing that. Everything needs to start at home." But at the same time, parents say it's the school's responsibility to help make the students feel safe.

We want to continue the conversation. Have you weighed in yet? Please comment below or take your thoughts/comment to our Facebook page here.


An open forum is being held Tuesday, April 26 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Hannibal. It's scheduled to go from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., but organizer Wesley Neff says he'll stay as long as he has to make sure everyone is heard.

We shared Wesley Neff's story with the Tri-States back in March. His 13-year-old son, who has a form of autism, is bullied at school. Things got serious last December following an altercation with another student on the bus. Click here to read that story.

Wesley Neff's son is still bullied at school, but he tells KHQA his son's situation is watched more closely these days. However, he knows kids are bullied everyday all around the country.

Working with a new group called Communities Against Bullying, Neff is calling for everyone who has had or has a child who is a victim of bullying and any child who is bullied to attend and let their voices be heard. Ultimately, he hopes that action can be taken against this issue.

He has requested the attendance of school board members, state representatives, teachers, and principals to hear about the problems that children are facing within the school system.

The goal is to get the information to the correct people so this problem can be taken seriously and resolved quickly.

KHQA will be at the open forum ... will you? We want to hear your thoughts and stories. Please feel free to post them below, or join in the conversation on our Facebook page here .

We will also be attending the Kirk Smalley presentation on "bullycide" at the Hannibal Middle School. Click here to read that story.