Mom arrested after confronting son’s bullies at school


GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (CNN/WSPA) – A South Carolina mom was arrested after she said she confronted the children who were bullying her son.

“I’m not right in my actions, but I’m right in standing up for my son,” Jamie Rathburn said.

Greenville County Schools said the district was not the one who called police. District officials believe it was a concerned parent who saw a heated Facebook post.

Administrators said she was setting the wrong example if she had wanted to stop bullying.

Rathburn showed 7News a log she had kept of the bullying episodes.

“He got hit, kicked, hit with a computer, he was shoved, he was jerked off a slide from behind,” Rathburn said. 

On May 17, Rathburn walked into Greenbrier Elementary School without permission and confronted students.

“I feel like it was handled poorly. I feel like my son was neglected in the fact that he would ask for help and not receive it. He was not being heard, which is why I got involved,” she said. 

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said she “began yelling at them while pointing her finger in a threatening manner.”  They said she used “profanity” towards a teacher.

“I probably was seeming like a bully at that point. I’m not proud of it,” said Rathburn.

Still, the Simpsonville mom is calling on the district to be more proactive.

Greenville County Schools said Greenbrier Elementary had been in frequent contact with Rathburn about the bullying and was taking steps to address it.  But the district also said if a parent doesn’t feel a school is being responsive, they should contact the district directly. Rathburn did not.

“It is never OK to confront other people’s children and to use foul language with them and threatening language with them,” said Beth Brotherton, Greenville County Schools District spokeswoman.

Part of Rathburn’s frustration is she didn’t know how the accused bullies were being punished. But the district said it would be a violation of the other families’ privacy to release that information would.

Rathburn said her son knows she was only trying to protect him, and she hopes he can learn from her mistakes. 

“I told him what I did wasn’t OK. It wasn’t. It was not OK. Mom shouldn’t have done that, but I was upset and you see what happened when I allowed my emotions to control my behavior. I did something stupid and it got me arrested,” she said. 

The district also said all schools have access to a mental health expert who can work with students who have been bullied or are bullying.  

And it said every third through 12th grader has a Chrome book with an anonymous hotline app so students can report bullying directly to the district.

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Did You Know?

  1. More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
  2. 33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
  3. Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
  4. Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression (Center for Disease Control, 2015).
  5. Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013).

(Data provided by Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center. Visit their website to see more bullying statistics.)

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