Four Holly Hill Middle School students face disciplinary action and two of them face criminal charges after a 12-year-old student was bullied inside a school locker room last week.
The Holly Hill Middle School student said nothing after his fellow students "attacked, taunted and bullied him," according to a Volusia County Sheriff's Office report.
But when he went into his next class, he went to a corner of the room, balled himself up in the fetal position and began crying uncontrollably, his mother said.
His teacher called school administrators and that's when they learned students had yanked down the boy's pants in attempt to photograph him below the waist and then took a photo of the boy with his shirt half off as other students repeatedly yelled: "Put it on the Internet," according to the report.
It comes on the heels of a Seminole County incident which drew national attention when Sanford father James Willie Jones went on a school bus to confront students who had been bullying his 12-year-old daughter.
Chatari Jones, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said other students poked her with pencils, called her names and spit in her hair.
In the incident at Holly Hill Middle School, the victim's mother has complained to school officials that the teacher, Wayne Wheeler, did nothing to stop the bullying.
The woman said she met with Wheeler the day after the incident.
"He admitted that he was there and looking at it and did nothing," she said.
Wheeler is on paid administrative leave while the school board determines if he was providing proper supervision, said Nancy Wait, a spokeswoman for Volusia County Schools. Wheeler has been with the school district for 33 years and at Holly Hill Middle for more than 11 years, she said.
Two 13-year-old students face simple battery and disorderly conduct charges, both misdemeanors, as a result of the incident a week ago. The same bare-chested photo of the victim was found on both students' cell phone, deputies said.
Those two students and two others have been disciplined by the Volusia County School Board, Wait said.
They were charged with a Level 3 offense, "a major offense," but regulations prohibit release of the discipline they received, Wait said. Discipline for Level 3 offenses ranges from suspension to a recommendation of expulsion, she said.
The victim's mother said her son is "a special-needs student," but she declined to go into more detail. The Orlando Sentinel is not identifying the victim and his mother.
She said this is the first instance of bullying at his present school, but about six months ago he was bullied at Tomoka Elementary School and ended up being treated at Halifax Behavioral Services after he wrote a note talking about suicide.
She had to take him back to the facility the night of the incident at Holly Hill Middle and he has been having nightmares and sleepless nights since, she said.
She said she has not heard back from school officials about the possibility of transferring her son to a different school.
"I'm leaning toward home schooling," she said.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
From The Orlando Sentinel:
Posted by BA Haller at 10:31 AM