Richmond County mother says school bullying out of hand

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December 11, 2006

Surveys show 77 percent of students are bullied mentally, verbally, and physically.

32 percent of parents fear for their child's safety at school. 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "bullying." And 8 percent of students miss 1 day of class per month for fear of bullies.

One Richmond County mother says her daughter is a victim of bullying. She is concerned it could be happening more and more in Richmond County schools.

When Shauntele Bussey picked up her daughter from Copeland Elementary, the girl's hair was everywhere, and she had a busted lip.

Shauntele says bullying is an everyday thing.

"I bump into you and you bump me back, and when you bump me back from me bumping you in the line, she grabbed her by her hair, swinging, punching her in the face, and hitting her head on the ground," Shauntele told News 12.

Copeland Elementary principal Dr. Anita Evans says Richmond County has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, and she says students who are bullied need to report what happened and not just fight back.

"We are also here not to have any child feel they can't come to school," she said. "It's not a place that they are going to be attacked verbally or physically by another child."

But Shauntele says her cries have fallen on deaf ears, and she's had enough of the picking and name calling. She plans to withdraw her child from that school and put her in another.

"You would imagine how it makes me feel," she said. "I am just trembling thinking about it."

Dr. Evans invites parents to get involved and talk with the school about any ongoing bully problems.

"The school really needs the cooperation of the home. The parents need to get involved," Dr. Evans said.

Shauntele says she's involved, and urges other parents to get involved to stop the fighting.

"If you talk to your kids and chastise them before school and be involved, we wouldn't have these situations," she said.

Dr. Evans says if you are a victim of bullying, simply walk away and go tell a teacher.

In Aiken County, the school board could adopt an anti-bullying policy tomorrow. It is required by a new state law that defines school bullying and the punishments for it.

If you'd like to comment on the plans at the meeting, you can contact the school district for more information.

The new South Carolina law takes effect January 1.