Society

School Punished Bullying Victim Attacked By Classmates (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A video (below) has surfaced of 13-year-old Drew Breton being bullied and attacked by a group of classmates at Semmes Middle School in Mobile County, Alabama, earlier this month.

In the video, Drew is seen trying to resist his attackers by telling them to back off, and fleeing through school hallways before being cornered by the bullies, who punch him.

According to ABC News, the boy's older brother, Corbin, uploaded the video to Facebook on Nov. 13, where it went viral with over three million views, and created a PR disaster for the school.

Rena Philips, Mobile County Public Schools' communications director, reportedly said via email to ABC News that some of the students were disciplined.

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"These are minors and we are prohibited by law to speak about specific punishments," Philips stated.

FindLaw noted in June that many schools misuse the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) -- which was passed in 1974 to protect the privacy of students' academic transcripts -- to shield school officials from public scrutiny and protect the schools' reputations.

"We are investigating the lack of teachers in the hall," Phillips added.

"I think I cursed and I was like he's not fighting at all," Kimberly Breton, the victim's mom, told AL.com. "He's walking away he's defending himself, and the school told me the complete opposite."

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According to Kimberly, the school fed her a bunch of false facts.

"They wanted to lead me to believe that they had no video of it with all the cameras that are in the school," she added.

After the video went viral -- proving school officials wrong -- Mobile County Public Schools posted a message on Facebook Nov. 19:

[O]fficials are aware that a video is circulating Facebook showing bullying at Semmes Middle School. Disciplinary actions were taken when the incident took place. Matters like this are very serious and unacceptable in our schools. We urge everyone to report bullying and threats of bullying.

The statement did not mention that the victim was disciplined with a suspension.

Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek told AL.com that her office was not aware of the video until it went viral on the web.

"What we're doing right now is a complete investigation ... to find out all of the details," Peek added. "Just from looking at the discipline records that we have I'm not sure that there was any knowledge at the the school about the situation filmed in the hall."

Kimberly said one of the boys who hit Drew was sent home where the boy's dad would reportedly deal with him, but Drew was suspended and Kimberly was told to attend a parent-teacher conference.

"[Drew] had told the guy he was coward for trying to jump him the day before," Kimberly explained. "That's when the other boy said well that's my boy if you got a problem with him you got a problem with me."

Kimberly is upset by her son being punched repeatedly, and by the lack of adult supervision throughout the hallways.

"Anytime you see something like that it's very disturbing," Peek said. She added that "as [an] educator for a number of years I never want to see anything like that." 

"There were no teachers in the hallway and when [Drew] ran to the classroom the door was locked," Kimberly stated. "It just broke my heart that the school is creating this environment and not protecting our kids when they are at school."

Peek said there are different protocols in place at the school for different incidents of bullying, which are ranked with different classifications.

"But bullying is a more aggressive discipline it's what we determine a code C, because it involves the type of bullying that would be a problem for another student and this has been regarded a bullying incident," Peek explained.

Bullying would go under harassment using the school's system, but not physical violence like fighting or threats/intimidation.

It's not clear if Drew will have the suspension removed from his record, which could haunt him all the way to college.

Sources: AL.com, ABC News, Mobile County Public Schools/FacebookFindLaw, ABC News/YouTube / Photo credit: ABC News/YouTube

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