A mother in Mobile, Alabama says that her son was wrongfully suspended from school after viral video showed him being bullied by classmates.
According to ABC News, Kimberly Breton, 42, did not see video of the bullying incident until after her son was suspended from school, but she now believes that school officials punished her son when they should have been punishing the boys who harassed him.
On Nov. 4, 13-year-old Drew Breton was changing classes at Semmes Middle School when other boys began to strike him from behind and attempt to goad him into fighting. They then cornered him and pummeled him with their fists.
Drew Breton was suspended for fighting in school after the incident, which was captured by another student in a 59-second clip. When Drew Breton told his mother the fight had been recorded by another student, she found it and downloaded it and found that it varied significantly from the version of events given to her by school officials.
“I think I cursed and I was like he’s not fighting at all,” said Breton to AL.com. “He’s walking away he’s defending himself and the school told me the complete opposite.”
She asked herself, “What do I do? My son is saying one thing and the school is saying another I didn’t know what to do.”
“There were no teachers in the hallway and when he ran to the classroom the door was locked,” said Breton “It just broke my heart that the school is creating this environment and not protecting our kids when they are at school.”
On Nov. 13, she posted the video to Facebook, where it quickly went viral and garnered more than 51,000 shares and 3.8 million views.
Days later, the Mobile County School District issued a statement that said, “Mobile County Public Schools officials 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.”
In an email, Rena Philips — Mobile County Public Schools’ communications director — told ABC News that multiple students were disciplined in the wake of the incident, but declined to offer details citing the fact that they are minor children and the school district is forbidden by law to discuss specific punishments.
“We are investigating the lack of teachers in the hall,” she said.
On Monday, school superintendent Martha Peek posted a video statement on Facebook.
“In response to an incident that was reported involving Semmes Middle School, I want to assure you that this incident is being taken very seriously, that a complete and thorough investigation is being conducted and that appropriate actions will be taken, when all the facts are known regarding this situation,” Peek said in the video.
“Safety and security of our students is of utmost importance and this matter will be handled in order to ensure the safety and security of every student at Semmes Middle School and also in the Mobile County Public School System,” she said.
Watch the video, embedded below: