Mom defends son for punching a kid who was ‘tormenting and bullying him’
As parents, we try our best to teach our kids to be kind to others, to treat everyone as they’d like to be treated and that it’s never OK to hurt another person. But what happens when your child is being victimized by another kid? A Mansfield, Missouri, mom and her son are at the center of this debate after she shared a viral Facebook post applauding the fact that her son was suspended from school for beating up a kid she says was bullying him.
“Five days of OSS [out of school suspension] for beating up the kid that has been tormenting and bullying him since middle school,” Allison Arnall Davis writes in her post, which has been shared over 145,000 times. “I know as a parent I’m supposed to be upset with him for resorting to violence or getting suspended, but I’m not. Not even a little bit.”
Davis goes on to explain that her high school-aged son, Drew, has endured years of threats, teasing, cyberbullying and physical intimidation, and school administrators have not been able to stop it.
“When this kid has constantly threatened to beat Drew up along with several of his friends, the school did nothing,” she says. “When this kid followed Drew down the hall threatening him and making fun of him AND it was all captured on video, the school did nothing ... When this kid took to social media, voicemails and texting threats, the school did nothing.”
According to Davis, the bully was never punished for his actions, despite numerous emails and phone calls to the school from her. The most school officials did was force both boys to sign a “no contact contract,” which was mostly ignored by the bully. She said Drew eventually stopped talking to adults at school about what was happening to him because “they never disciplined the bully and it just made the situation worse.”
The situation came to a head last week when the bully moved on from teasing Drew and started making threats against Drew’s 11-year-old brother.
“... Drew decided that he would quit relying on the school and the adults who are supposed to protect him and HE would do something,” Davis writes. “Three punches and his bully screamed like a baby, his minion friends shut up, and this morning the bully wouldn’t even look at him. Problem solved.”
Davis’ Facebook post sparked strong reactions from parents. Over 600 people left comments, and many of them told stories about their own children or grandchildren being forced to deal with bullies when school officials wouldn’t act.
“My grandson was bullied for one year and school did nothing,” one commenter writes. “He was so terrified he slept with a knife under his pillow as the kid said he’d sneak into his room at night. We finally said hit him and hit him hard. Yes my grandson got in trouble (not detention) and the bully quit but turned his attention to someone else…”
Another adds, “My daughter was bullied, and as her mother and teacher in the district, I relied on the school district. After pleading for the district to help her, calling the bully’s parents and asking they intervene, no one including the bully’s parents helped the situation. So finally after a year or so, my daughter, after getting her books knocked out of her hands for the last time, gave the girl a good ‘ole fashion butt whoopin.’”
Not everyone was on board with encouraging kids to fight it out.
“Too bad the parents couldn’t come together and see what their child’s part was in it and do something about it long ago,” another commenter writes. “Didn’t have to come to this. People not holding their kids accountable.”
Some local parents even joined the thread to victim-blame Drew and warn Davis to look at both sides of the story.
One man writes, “I don’t condone bullying in any way, shape, or form, but you people understand that you’re getting one side to this story, correct? There is a lot of proof from other students, that this ‘victim’ isn’t so innocent in the situation. Before you start bashing the other child, know all the facts. You have only heard one very partial side to this story.”
In a second post, Davis addresses the accusation that she wasn’t telling the whole story. She reveals that a few years ago, while her son was still in middle school, her husband had sent social media messages to the bully warning him to leave their son alone or he would “get his a** kicked.” She also explains that Drew had previously engaged in verbal altercations with his bully.
“I’m not trying to say that Drew or my family is perfect,” she writes. “Trust me. We didn’t nickname Drew ‘Mr. Preteen McTurdpants’ because he was a sugar coated rainbow of fun … Listen, we have nothing to hide. Our son was terrified to come to school because of physical threats from multiple boys, and you are trying to nitpick at details that don't matter or change the situation.”
Sadly, bullying is still common for middle and high school kids. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of children ages 12 to 18 who experienced bullying at school decreased 9% from 2005 to 2017, but bullying still affects about 20% of kids. For children in this situation, StopBullying.Gov recommends calmly telling the bully to stop, not fighting back and talking to adults you trust.
Obviously, beating someone up or having a parent send social media messages to a child isn’t a good way to solve problems in the long run. But Davis’ post seems to validate the struggle a lot of parents and kids face when their efforts to handle bullies the “right” way end up failing. Davis says in her second Facebook post that she hopes her son’s story can open up a conversation between parents and school administrators to finally address the problem of school bullies.
“Hearing all of these comments from people all over that are dealing with bullies, it makes me want to do something,” she writes. “I would much rather work with the school than against the school and come up with an appropriate solution to this problem and I’m glad that this post has brought awareness to this issue.”
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