Mother claims Howard County school ignored bullying

Daughter threatened suicide

ELKRIDGE, Md. - The saga of Jalyn Strange began when she allowed a friend to borrow a necklace, but the fall out from the girl's failure to return it carried over to Elkridge Landing Middle School where her mother says life for Jalyn became a living hell.

"The original accuser decided to take four to five other female students who were prior friends of Jalyn Strange and start this horrific escalation of bullying... cornering her in the restroom," said Lynn Strange.

It's alleged the young adversary had turned Jalyn's friends against her and threatened her after the 13-year old reported the harassment to the school's guidance counselor.

She even began trying to eat her lunch in the ladies' room so she wouldn't have to confront the girls in the lunchroom.

Lynn Strange claims top school administrators dismissed the incident as a minor dispute.

"The school system wants to maintain this impeccable reputation for Howard County Public Schools that incidents such as these don't occur in their schools and they don't want to lose this prestigious reputation, and I believe it was a direct attempt by the school to evade this matter."

Jalyn's suffering reached the boiling point last week when the teen called her mother just before she boarded a bus to school and told her she wanted to take her own life.

"(I) contacted the school immediately and said, 'You have a child in crisis ready to commit suicide.' It was then later confirmed by Miss Tina Flynn, the guidance counselor, that she was at a critical point," recalled Strange.

Lynn Strange has since sought out counseling for her daughter, but on behalf of Jalyn and other kids like her, she wants schools to take bullying seriously.

A spokesperson with the district, Patti Caplan, says school administrators met with the parents of the two girls involved and tried to diffuse the situation.

She adds the schools take bullying seriously, but cannot always intervene in every squabble that occurs on a daily basis in every school.


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