Parents say the bullying problem at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School has gotten so bad that their children have sustained serious injuries. (WRDW-TV / Feb. 23, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Aug. 24, 2012
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- In February, the day after News 12 aired a special assignment exposing an alleged bullying problem at Leavelle McCampbell last school year, sixth grader Cameron Whitmer suffered backlash.
"My youngest son got beat up in the bathroom and when he went to the office to fill out an incident report, I wasn't called, I wasn't told and nobody contacted me," said his mother, Debra Smith.
"Leavelle was probably the hardest time for me. It was just rough," Cameron said.
It wasn't the first time Cameron and his brother had been bullied, but their mother Debra knew, at that point, it was time to leave. So she made a big sacrifice -- she quit her job to home-school her boys.
"On the last day of school, the first thing I did was walk down to the office and sign withdrawal papers," she said.
She says she's not the only one. She knows many other parents who now home-school their children. Additionally, Midland Valley Preparatory School estimates that six students transferred from Leavelle before the start of this school year. The administrator there says a few transferred at the end of last school year, too. She says many of the parents cited bullying at Leavelle McCampbell.
It comes as no surprise to Kelly Hagen-Swart and her son Duncan.
"Duncan's teacher in elementary school -- one of them pulled us aside and said she wouldn't send her dog to Leavelle. There is definitely a problem," Hagen-Swart said.
So she never let Duncan go there. He's home-schooled, too, through the South Carolina Connections Academy. She says he learns more, has better access to teachers and still does physical education and art.
"I like it because I can actually get more interaction with the teachers," Duncan said.
Right now, Duncan has an 'A' and Debra says she hopes her sons' grades will improve, too. She says they made plenty of 'F's' at Leavelle.
The transfers are not reflected in enrollment figures this school year. Early numbers show that the student population at Leavelle actually went up slightly.
News 12 attempted to contact Leavelle McCampbell Principal Dr. Lloydette Young but never received a call back.