AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — A mother wants the issue of bullying to be taken seriously, after she says her son was cut by another student at school.
Dana Brown's son is a fourth grade student at Stuarts Draft Elementary School. Brown said she had heard about some bullying-related issues from her son before. She described them as little things — things they didn't worry too much about.
But a week ago, that tune changed when she says she got a call from the school nurse. Brown said that call came a week ago, and when she arrived, the nurse said she needed to speak with the principal.
Brown said the principal told her that her son had been cut by another student.
She said the alleged incident makes her sad.
"He's still scared. He still doesn't understand why," Brown said. "I mean, I think honestly, no one will ever understand why."
Brown said leading up to the alleged cutting incident, her son said he had been called names and he said yogurt was poured on him twice. Brown said the second time yogurt was poured on him was about a week before he was allegedly cut.
Brown says she went to the school board meeting last week to talk about bullying.
"There should never be a kid who never wants to go back to school, or scared to go to school," Brown said.
Brown said she asked the school board if they could do something about the bullying. She thinks there should be a no tolerance policy, at all schools, not just Augusta County.
"I don't ever want to see a kid, a parent, go through what me and my son, my family, is dealing with," Brown said.
WHSV reached out to school board members and the superintendent. A statement from the superintendent says in part "in every case where the Division receives a report of an act on our campus that may constitute bullying, serious crime or of any imminent threat to students or school safety or security, ACPS both conducts its own investigation and promptly involves and fully cooperates with law enforcement."
School board members we spoke with echoed that and said they are taking this allegation seriously and are following all school policies.
The statement also said the schools have turned the incident over to law enforcement, and the Augusta County Sheriff's Office confirmed they were looking into it.
You can find the full statement from the superintendent below.
Because of state and federal privacy laws relating to student information, the Division cannot disclose any information about any student’s report, details of any school-based investigation, or any disciplinary action taken. However, Augusta County Public Schools (ACPS) regards claims of bullying, violence or criminal activity on its property as very serious matters. In every case where the Division receives a report of an act on our campus that may constitute bullying, serious crime or of any imminent threat to students or school safety or security, ACPS both conducts its own investigation and promptly involves and fully cooperates with law enforcement. School administration conducts a thorough and sensitive investigation and imposes discipline on any student who has violated school policies. Our investigations often take time to gather all the information from involved students and witnesses before we can reach conclusions. School officials also offer appropriate additional supports to any student determined to be a victim of serious crime or misconduct.
Neither bullying nor violence of any kind are tolerated by ACPS. When any investigation reveals bullying or an act of violence occurred, the offending student is subjected to appropriate discipline under applicable policies. ACPS Codes of Conduct include, at a minimum, a ten (10) day suspension for bringing a weapon onto school property plus a referral to the Discipline Committee and law enforcement. The Discipline Committee can impose additional discipline, restrictions, terms and conditions based on the facts and circumstances in each individual case. However, due to state and federal privacy laws protecting student information, we are unable to advise other parents or the media about the particular details of any individual student’s discipline. ACPS has turned this incident over to law enforcement and can provide no further information.
In addition to our division-wide discipline policies about bullying and violence, each school has its own approaches to and emphasis on character education and bullying preventing, which include both school-wide activities and individualized or small group counseling. We expect those activities to continue as we continue our dialogue with staff, parents, and the community to bolster all efforts, both within the division and the community, to address and minimize bullying.
The School Board would never neglect, or allow ACPS staff to neglect, any responsibility to follow up thoroughly on such serious offenses on any of our campuses. The School Board is committed to continuing ACPS’ collaboration with law enforcement to maximize safety and security of all persons on ACPS property. The safety of all students is always a top priority of all who work in the school division.