Parents say Beaufort County Schools turning a blind eye to bully - WRBL

Parents say Beaufort County Schools turning a blind eye to bullying

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WASHINGTON, N.C. - Bullying in schools, parents are alleging it is going on and that administrators in Beaufort County are turning their cheek on those it's happening to.

9 On Your Side spoke to two parents who say the school has had enough time to correct the problem and, in one particular case, a mother says the school suspended her son for protecting himself and each time he returns to school, it happens again.

"That same day that he went back the kids were picking on him and so he got into another fight and he got suspended again,” said Margaret Moore, parent. “Suspending a child doesn't solve a problem. You've got kids in there who want to be suspended. My kid don't."

Moore described the situation she and her son Zach find themselves in to 9 On Your Side. She says, Zach, a ninth grader at Washington High School, isn’t the type of kid that likes to fight, but does feel the need to defend himself. His mother Margaret agrees and she's decided to pull Zach from the classroom, and home school him instead. At school, Zach says a student threatened to kill his family and, as a result, he even thought of committing suicide.

"They said they were going to start shooting them and stuff and that's why I stayed up all night just thinking about it and it affected my brain," said Zach Moore, student,

"They have to do something besides suspending them and thinking that's the answer,” said Margaret Moore. “That's not the answer.”

To the east of Washington High at Northeast Elementary, another parent describes a similar situation to 9 On Your Side. Belinda Wilkinson says her son documents the bullying on paper and says administrators don't believe him.

"The teachers don't believe him, the principal don't believe, the assistant principal don't believe and the superintendent don't believe him," said Belinda Wilkinson, parent.

"If he comes home crying 3 days out of the week, I know he's not lying,” said Shaun Wilkinson, victim's brother.

Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps sat down with 9 On Your Side to talk about the resources the school board provides, including their “Ok To Say” hotline or Report A Bully program found online.

The parents 9 On Your Side spoke to say it's not helping.

Because of state law Phipps couldn't comment on Moore's case. But he agrees that suspending a student isn't the answer to every case. The schools investigate each incident and only determine if suspending someone is appropriate at the conclusion of that investigation.
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