The mother of a student was arrested last month when she went to her son’s school and allegedly lashed out at children for their bullying behavior.
Jamie Rathburn has a son who attends Greenbrier Elementary School in the Greenville County School District.
The communications director at the district confirmed that nearly 1,900 reports regarding bullying in the 91 schools in the district have been received over the past three years.
During the past year, Rathburn’s child has told her that he has been targeted by bullies at school in several ways.
The boy’s mother saw that the situation, which reportedly began with name-calling and attempts to cause the boy emotional harm, appeared to be escalating. She started to notice bruising and marks on her son’s body when he would return home from the school day.
Rathburn’s concerns about her son’s safety, while he was in the care of the school, caused her to meet with the principal and display the injuries she spotted on her child.
The mother explained that in addition to the horrible verbal abuse some of the physical interactions her son had been the victim of included his being yanked by another student from the ladder attached to the slide causing him to get hurt and having a computer hurled at him.
The response to her outreach was reported as dismissive, and the district told Rathburn that rather than obtaining the marks from incidents of bullying they believe it is simply natural for boys to play rough together.
The laid-back attitude toward her complaints left Rathburn, who disclosed that she was so badly picked on as a young teen that she wanted to end her life at the time, feeling as if the school was not taking incidents of bullying seriously enough.
The school decided that they would supply Rathburn’s son with an attendant who works for the school so that he could be escorted and kept away from the other children, which Rathburn saw as a punishment for her child instead of the offenders.
On May 17, she allegedly decided to take action on her own in an attempt to curtail the behavior of the bullying students.
Rathburn showed up at the school in a frustrated state and saw that a classroom of students containing the children she believed was responsible for tormenting her boy was sitting in the hallway.
When Rathburn went up to the kids she allegedly began to wave her finger in their direction and scold them for their nasty behavior. She reportedly told them that it is not alright to be a bully and that if they believed it was then she would like to speak with their mothers.
A teacher and the principal of the school came to inspect the situation and tried to interrupt Rathburn, who reportedly began to use obscene language with them in her heated state.
Rathburn reportedly posted a video of herself talking about some of the details of the situation and a viewer became worried and notified the authorities.
Though she took the video offline, Rathburn was seen on the school’s surveillance camera and on May 20 she was taken into custody for suspicion of nonstudent interfering, disrupting, or disturbing schools. She will also be prohibited from going to the school for the remainder of the year based on a no-trespass order, and her son will be placed in a different school within the district.
The school district’s assistant to the superintendent gave a statement regarding the incident and said that it’s always hard to tell if children claiming that they are the victims of bullying are accurate since the students involved always give conflicting stories about what took place. He said the principal at each of their schools must make nearly hundreds of decisions and, “Anybody making 300 decisions a day will make mistakes.”
Rathburn has expressed regret for the way she handled the situation but said that she wants to make sure bullying remains the issue in the forefront due to the importance of taking it seriously.
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