Mother upset with how school handled bullying issue

Published 10:44 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017

A mother’s account of a Tuesday incident involving her 8-year-old son at Hogansville Elementary School  was widely read and shared on social media this week.

Jules Webster posted on her personal Facebook page Wednesday details of an alleged  incident involving her third-grade son.

In the post, which has been shared more than 1,400 times, Webster alleges HES ignored a bullying problem and mishandled a situation involving her child, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, causing the child to damage materials in a classroom.

Webster said her son was bullied by another student, and despite being told of the problem his teacher did not intervene. She said her son reacted by hiding in a corner — which she said is typical behavior for him in that type of situation — but  a school administrator used force to pull him out of the corner.

Webster said officials had been told touching her son could trigger an anger episode, and had been told not to do so in the past. Webster’s son responded by causing damage to classroom materials.

Since her account of the story was posted online, Webster said she’s had numerous parents come forward with stories about their children being bullied.

“This started out being about bullying and it is,” Webster said. “It’s a terrible, terrible problem there. But as more people come out with it, it’s a problem because the administration is just as bad.”

Pictures on Webster’s Facebook show items in the classroom strewn across the floor, including desks, chairs and supplies.

“I was not OK with it, and I’m never going to be OK with the way he acts out,” Webster said of her son’s actions.

The Troup County School System released a statement Thursday on the incident.

“We are aware of a parent concern posted on social media that causes great concern for other parents and the community as a whole on the subject of bullying. Troup County School System takes the safety of our students and staff very seriously. We do not encourage or condone bullying at any level,” said Yolanda Stephen, director of Public Relations for the Troup County School System. “At this time, we are investigating the matter and working directly with the parent to bring solutions pertaining to her situation. This is something we do with each parent concern. Parent engagement and open communication between school and home is important to not only a safe learning environment, but a successful one.”

Stephen said no students or school employees were injured. Hogansville Police Chief Brian Harr confirmed the Hogansville Police Department responded to an incident at the school Tuesday, but he could not provide any other details due to a child being involved. Stephen said the school system has also started its own investigation. Webster said she was told the Division of Family and Children Services would be looking into the incident. Stephen said DFACS’ involvement is following normal protocol.

“Any time we receive a parent concern of this nature we do our own investigation, that includes contacting outside agencies like DFACS,” Stephen said.

Webster said she wants her children transferred from Hogansville Elementary School.

“They can’t be there. They are going to be retaliated against, and I already know that,” Webster said. “My son has been in other schools, and he’s never had a problem.”

Webster said the school system is working with her on the transfer process to another elementary school in the Troup County School System.