(WRBL)– A Columbus mother is speaking out after she was arrested last week in trying to defend her son from a bus bully.
Courtney Early says she was disturbed seeing her eight-year-old son, Melquavion, beaten and bruised when he came home from Waddell Elementary School.
“He was covered in dirt from his head all the way down,” Early said. “A bump on the back of his head, a swollen eye, and his face were messed up.”
Early says her son has been bullied since August, but she has grown frustrated with school officials. In her mind, she feels no disciplinary action against the alleged bully has been taken.
Muscogee County School District Director of Communications Valerie Fuller says even though a parent doesn’t see a student disciplined, doesn’t mean the school isn’t taking action. She says another misconception of punishing bullying is that an investigation is required by school administration when they receive a report of repeated bullying. Waddell Elementary has investigated the incident, although by law, WRBL is not privy to any punishment for the alleged bully.
To see the Muscogee County School District’s policy on bullying, click here.
Early’s search for accountability with the school system stems from her search for answers about why she was arrested.
“I was being charged with disorderly conduct (which News 3 confirmed),” Early commented. “I was just in shock, at a loss for words because I couldn’t understand why I was being arrested and my child had been getting bullied.”
Early’s arrest came after an argument with a bus driver about his role in responsibly looking after her child. According to Fuller, bus drivers and other school staff should all help when bullying occurs either on school property or on a school bus.
“There’s no blame game here for anyone,” Fuller said. “It takes parents, it takes teachers, it takes the school administrators, it takes the bus drivers, it takes a community.”
Early says her son already suffers from migraines and deals with low self-esteem. So bullying only adds to the pressure of surviving in school. She says she’s considered transferring Melquavion to another school, but she left the decision to him. He wanted to stay at Waddell because he loved his teachers there.