‘Bullybuster’ Makes It on Bozeman School District Ballot
When we looked at the ballots for the upcoming Bozeman School Board election, we were intrigued by one of the names on the ballot. Gary “Bullybuster” McGowan is listed as a candidate for Bozeman School District 7 Trustee. With someone listed as "Bullybuster," we decided we had to find out more about them.
The 39-year-old McGowan is running against three incumbents, Gary Lusin, Wendy Tage and Douglas Fischer in the upcoming election on May 8. Three of the four candidates will be chosen to represent elementary school voters.
Earlier this year, McGowan asked the public for guidance while deciding whether to run. He says he was given feedback indicating that a section of Bozeman’s schools were underrepresented. McGowan also says that within that context the “monster” that is bullying needs to be addressed in a more aggressive manner.
McGowan has personal experience when it comes to bullying. He told us that he made the decision to move his daughter to a different school after she was the victim of bullying incident that took place within the Bozeman School District. McGowan doesn't think that the case was handled correctly by district leadership and that was a major factor in deciding to run for trustee.
When it came time to officially report the incident involving his daughter, McGowan says "I was met with a lot of adversarial energy from the school district," and that "no transparent process was given to me after my kid came home injured."
Because he feels like there were barriers involved in the reporting process, McGowan says he "got fed up," wondering "how many families are facing this."
McGowan told us that he wants to not only be an advocate for his own daughter, but for all parents and children in the district as well.
"Part of me is wondering why there are so many people on the board without kids in school," McGowan says while also questioning whether some of the elected members are out of touch with the needs of students due to their age.
McGowan went on to say that another reason for his candidacy is that he feels many members of the current school board are more focused on land development rather than a child or parent's experience within the system.
According to McGowan, he has spent less than $100 on his campaign, only financing printed information which he passed out door-to-door.