SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The legal guardian and older sister of a student in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System has concerns about how the district handles bullying.
This comes after her brother was allegedly physically bullied at Southwest Middle School and left with multiple injuries. The school’s handling of the situation, Adrienne Mercer says, is “unfair.”
Pictures of 13-year-old Luke, a new student at the middle school, appear to show injuries on his neck. Mercer says Luke has been physically bullied by a classmate since his second day of school.
“I got a call from Luke, not the school, saying please come here, the kid pushed me down in the classroom and started punching me in the head,” Mercer said. “We didn’t even know he had blood and scratches on the back of his neck until we got to the car.”
She went to school administrators for help but said the results were disheartening.
“All that was handled was they were separated in the homeroom, far away from each other, but that didn’t do anything,” Mercer said. “The same day, the kid jabbed him in the cafeteria with a fork, and we called the school and said the kid’s not staying away from Luke, and it just didn’t get better.”
According to Mercer, administrators said they would facilitate a transfer for Luke.
“Right when we talked into the office, they said ‘Let’s go ahead and get Luke into a different school,’ and that was their first reaction,” she said.
“We didn’t want to get him into a different school. We thought the bully should be the one to be moved.”
After filing a report with campus police, Officer Juan Cruz gave Mercer the following statement, telling her the bully was disciplined:
He had what they now call consequences for his actions, unfortunately by law we can’t tell you what it was, but rest assured he was disciplined.
But Mercer says that does not make up for what she says is the school’s lack of urgency with the situation.
“We never get calls back from the assistant principals, we don’t hear back at all. We always have to go to the school, and they still kind of don’t really help us with our concerns,” she explained.
Although Luke starts at his new school this week, Mercer says she believes more should have been done.
“They haven’t offered counseling, they just say they’re sorry this is going on, and that’s really all.”
Per the SCCPSS code of conduct, the school board does not tolerate acts of violence and possession of weapons within a school safety zone.
The code of conduct also says students may be assigned detention, temporary suspension or expulsion for serious or repeated violation of student behavior rules.