Superintendent meets with both families involved in alleged ‘bullying incident’ in Sheffield


L.E. Willson Elementary School is located in Sheffield. (WHNT News 19)

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – The Superintendent of Sheffield City Schools said he has followed up on an alleged incident that took place at L.E. Willson Elementary School last Friday.

One girl was injured, and pictures of her injuries circulated on social media in the days that followed, prompting an investigation and harsh criticism for the other girl involved. However, there were questions about how this happened and if this could have been an accident.

Keith Lankford said he met with the families of both children involved over the past two days, and released a statement today, saying he discussed a “Plan of Action” with both parties but those details would be kept private. Lankford said he feels both conversations were insightful, compassionate and meaningful and will help all involved move toward healing.

Lankford’s statement follows:

Anytime one of our children sustains an injury it rattles the heart of everyone involved. To see the bruising and sadness in her eyes was overwhelming. I visited the young lady and her family yesterday and I want to give a brief update on her condition. She is still bruised and swollen but recovering nicely. I got to see a smile and the twinkle in her eye that represents the resiliency and courage in her heart. The conversation I had with her mother was insightful, compassionate, and meaningful. We discussed several things in relation to the incident to include a Plan of Action as we move forward.

Earlier today I met with the other student and grandmother involved in the incident. Again, I felt the conversations were meaningful and caring in relation to both children. We discussed the incident in great detail and upon the conclusion of the conversation; we discussed a Plan of Action.

The Plan of Action which I alluded to is specific to the children involved and like discipline records, is not open for discussion as it falls under the Privacy Act. As part of this Action Plan, we will align specific resources to meet the individual needs of the students.

As a system, I always believe that challenges create opportunities and reflection. As part of our Action Plan, we will also look for areas to grow and learn in an effort to better serve our students, parents, teachers, and community.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Keith Lankford