HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – “End the silence, stop the violence,” chanted a small group who joined outside the Huntsville City School Board building Monday to protest what they call “silence” following the alleged bathroom attack of a Butler High School student on September 17th.
Concerned parents and students claim the school system does not take reports of violence seriously.
“This is a problem that’s been ongoing in the school system for a long time,” said rally organizer and mother Terri Michael. “I think that this case is just one that is thrusting it into the limelight how deep the problems go in the city school system as far as the violence against the kids, about their safety, about procedure and protocol.”
Megan Colebank claims the proper action was not taken following her daughter’s bathroom brush with three other girls at Butler High School last month. “Unfortunately its’ been swept under the rug and I refuse to have my child swept,” said the outraged motherColebank says she wanted her daughter immediately transferred to Lee High School.
“The principal was trying to work with me, she tried to get the transfer in but it was denied.”
Colebank submitted the transfer request on September 21 but Huntsville City School’s Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski explains the transfer request was filed under the No Child Left Behind Act , but that majority/minority transfers by state court order take precedent.
“This student fell fairly well down the list in terms of priority for those types of transfers so her request was denied,” said Wardynski.
The superintendent says multiple actions have been taken since that time including the suspension of two students involved in the alleged Butler attack.
Wardynski says four students were captured on camera entering the bathroom on September 17 after a class change at 2 o’clock. He says statements vary from reports of “horseplay” to bruised ribs. Wardynski says at one point the alleged attack victim claimed the other girls pulled her sweatshirt above her head and that she was unable to identify them, but the victim later retracted that statement.
“We’re looking for more information if there was more unsafe behavior in the way of harassment where we would have taken expulsion actions. So our approach is to deal with discipline problem in schools not to move problems between schools,” Said Wardynski.
The school system received claims of cyber-bullying following the alleged attack last month, but say they have found no evidence to support the allegations. The alleged student victim has now transferred to another school.