Parents share stories of bullying with school board
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Reports of bullying in Hamilton County Schools is on the rise this year, thanks to schools being back full-time during the pandemic. The stories of bullying, though, are horrific, and some of them came out at the school board meeting. One of them happened here at East Ridge Elementary School.
“The aggressor then grabs my son’s arm and yanked it. You can hear my son scream “Ow,” and begs to let him up. The video ends. The aggressor then stands and tells my son that he respects him.”
“My baby – he is ten years old – has been attacked by a bully for seven months! He has endured a busted nose. He’s endured this boy pushing him down and hitting his head on the floor.”
News 12 took a look at state data of bullying cases, and the last full year of reporting data was from the 2018-19 school year. In the biggest four counties in Tennessee, three of them had at least 81% of verified bullying cases. Here in Hamilton County, only 39% of cases were verified to be bullying.
Parents of bullying victims say the system is broken, especially when the victim is suspended for the same amount of days as the aggressor.
“Everyone’s story’s different but everyone’s story still revolves around the same thing of their children being victims and the bully’s still getting away with everything that they’ve done and it’s not OK and it’s not fair.”
“You say you commit to a future where all students thrive? Who’s going to protect… stop protecting bullies and start protecting the victims like my son?”
I spoke with School Board member James Walker about it, and he says everyone on the school board, as well as the superintendent want to help get rid of bullying. Walker says addressing the root causes of bullying when kids are young can help them grow up to be inclusive and keep all of Hamilton County students thriving in a competitive environment.
At East Ridge Elementary School, Scott Koral. News 12 Now.