Felicia Chew on Bullying : Interacting with Parents


My heart is sad and angry.

**NOTE: This incident was not in Tucson; however, bullying exists in public schools in Tucson. Ask the parents of kids who were pulled from the public schools.**

I read an article this morning on my Facebook feed “Mom Arrested After Entering Elementary School and Confronting Son’s Alleged Bullies” (http://www.fox2detroit.com/news/us-and-world-news/mom-arrested-after-entering-elementary-school-and-confronting-sons-alleged-bullies) tells the story of a mother who was arrested for speaking up. Was her method appropriate? What other choices did she have?

The article is another example of people not believing the victim…
The victim (and his mother) have been issued a “No Trespass” for the school. Previous to that, the victim was “isolated” for his protection.

Really? Yes, really.

I have included sections below that I found to be notable from the article, with my comments at the end of each section after the “–>”

Bullying is also a problem here in Tucson.

Schools can do better! Stop the school to prison pipeline by implementing restorative and transformative practices CORRECTLY. There is no shame in asking for help. However, schools should feel the guilt for not ensuring the safety and well-being of ALL students.

“Bullying and suicide, colloquially referred to as “bullycide”, are considered together when the cause of suicide is attributable to the victim having been bullied, either in person or via social media…The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that approximately 4,400 deaths occur from suicide each year. There are about 100 attempts of suicide to every 1 successful suicide. A little over 14% of students in high school consider suicide and approximately 7% of them attempt suicide. Students that are bullied are around 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims.[13] A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. 10 to 14 year old teen girls are most likely to commit suicide based on this study. According to ABC News, nearly 30% of students are either victims of bullies or bullies themselves and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because they are scared of being bullied.[14]”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying_and_suicide)

Matt Kopec, you took me to Court, and kept me from having the opportunity to be on the ballot for Amphitheater Public Schools. Do you realize that there is bullying in the Amphi Schools, and you have overworked and exhausted staff who unintentionally exacerbate the problem?

What are you doing to #EndBullying?


Here are sections I found to be notable from the article, with my comments at the end of each section after the “–>”


“The interaction soon got emotional, and according to a police report as well as the Greeville County School District, Jamie Rathburn was seen yelling at a group of kids and a teacher.” –> of course she is emotional! She was frustrated that the school was ignoring her and her kid!

“…pointing her finger in a threatening manner.” –> (sarcasm, and probably not politically correct to say: was she going to Poke them to death?!?)

“Beth Brotherton, director of communications for the Greenville school district said that Rathburn had admitted she did not know who the bullies were, but Rathburn insists she did.” –> abuse of power, speaking for the victim

“Brotherton said there had been several isolated incidents between Rathburn’s son and fellow classmates but she said it was nothing that would constitute bullying, which she defines as repeated behavior by a specific individual or specific group of people.” –> if this is the policy, it should be amended to includ the phrase “or pattern”

“According to Brotherton, some of the specific incidents involved another classmate making faces or telling Rathburn’s son that his haircut was “silly,” but Rathburn insists the treatment of her son was closer to harassment.
– “He was told that he was ugly, that he was stupid, nobody cared, and he was called gay, he was cussed out, and when he reported those things he was told to ignore it,” Rathburn said. –> verbal and emotional abuse. Have we not been paying attention to the number of death by suicide of bully victims?
– She says that these incidents continued to occur over the course of the school year and eventually became violent, saying that he was thrown off a ladder slide by his neck and even hit with a computer. –> of course the school will deny… they could lose their jobs! When are we going to start admitting we don’t have eyes on the backs of our heads, and we need to help our students understand that doing the right thing is more valuable than being cool?
– She said that her son had scratch marks on his neck as well as bruises and when she tried to show the principal, they did nothing. The school district, however, insists Rathburn’s allegations are simply a case of “boys playing rough.” –> enough with this “boys will be boys” attitude! They don’t need to “play rough”; they do need to expend energy. Teach them how to do it healthily and healthfully.
– “There were several different students over the course of the year who he did not get along with or weren’t the nicest kids in the room or said something unkind,” said Brotherton. –> Obviously there was a situation, and someone should have intervened.
– The child who allegedly threw Rathburn’s son off the slide was disciplined according to the school’s disciplinary guidelines, Brotherton said. –> pardon me, but “throwing someone off a slide” sounds really dangerous… I wonder what the “disciplinary guidelines” were, and if the child who did that continued to bully or harass in other ways. If not, this was apparently an effective consequence — which still begs the question : where was supervision, and why would a child think it was okay to throw someone off of a slide?!?!?
– On the day of her arrest, Rathburn had posted a video a Facebook live video where she said she was on her way to give the school a “piece of her mind,” which prompted a “concerned citizen” to inform law enforcement.” –> “concerned citizen”… where was the concerned citizen when the bullying was happening? again this all constitutes a pattern. Bullies adapt so they can survive… they are not going to do the exact same behavior over and over again, AND they are going to use more subtle techniques, coercive techniques that can result in “he said, she said”.

“Rathburn has since sincerely apologized for her behavior but says she was just fed up with how her son was being treated. –> based on the social media comments, lots of people agree with Rathburn
– She said the school had isolated her son from the rest of the class for her son’s safety but felt it was retaliation for her behavior and persistence in trying to get the school to do something about the bullying. –> punishing the victim.
“I understand what I did was wrong. Like I said, I don’t condone it. I don’t recommend it. I wish I could change it. I can’t change it though, the only thing I can do is apologize, because that is sincere, and try to push forward and put the spotlight on what the real issues are, and that’s bullying,” Rathburn said.” –> Punishing the victim

“Rathburn is currently on a no trespassing notice in which her son will not be able to return to Greenbrier Elementary School but will still be allowed to attend another school in the district. –> So maybe the problem is with someone at the school or with the policies (e.g. Administrator and/or Board Members <– they have the power, authority, and responsibility to ensure the safety and learning for ALL students).
– “Anyone who chooses by their own admission to illegally sneak into a school building, yell at a hallway full of 8 and 9-year-old children, and curse an elementary school teacher in front of those children is going to get put on a no trespass notice and not be allowed back into the school for the rest of the year,” said Brotherton.” –> I’m just wondering with all of this threat of school shootings… how was it that this mom was able to be “berating” the bullies for so long?

Bullies are likely to become perpetrators of domestic violence. Help end systemic domestic violence by ending bullying.




One thought on “Felicia Chew on Bullying : Interacting with Parents

  1. I totally agree with your opinion of it. When schools fail to protect bullied children, it can cause frustration for the parents. Schools are much too concerned for their reputations and not for the welfare of the bullied child. Schools have too much power and too often, they wield it against targets of bullying and their families.

    I know how it feels because not only was I chronically bullied in school, but my son also went through a stint of bullying and principals in both cases only turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. I remember being afraid for his safety and having been bullied myself, I knew how he felt. We eventually transferred him to another school and he did so much better there.

    This is a very powerful post and I thank you for speaking up for those who are defenseless against these school districts.


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