Sparta mother watches son bullied on tape
The mother of a boy allegedly bullied on a school bus in Sparta last week watched the surveillance video of the incident for the first time Wednesday.
The issue was brought to light at Tuesday night's Sparta school board meeting, with her emotional plea for justice.
Several other parents came forward with stories of how their own children had been bullied.
Misty Morales and her 13-year-old son watched the surveillance video from the bus together at the school Wednesday.
Morales said, in that video, she saw her son sitting in the bus seat, playing a game on his phone.
That's when a handful of kids started to pick on him, as his 11-year-old sister sat by helplessly and cried.
“I actually got to the point where I gasped and covered my mouth, and I was just like, 'Oh, my goodness.' I mean, it's like, you wish you were there so you could just be like, 'Knock it off. Stop,’” said Morales.
She said the video is proof of her emotional story at Tuesday night's school board meeting.
"My son comes home, he's got an abrasion on his lip from being punched. His neck is red from being in a chokehold. He's got scratches on his face,” said Morales at the meeting. “The one had his hands down his pants, pulled it out and wiped it all over my son's face. Not once, but three times he did this to my son. And while he was doing that, he said, 'You like that, don't you?'"
The Sparta Police Department and the Sparta School District said they won't release the security video, to protect the identity of the minors involved.
The district is not releasing what disciplinary action was taken, but Superintendent John Hendricks said that shouldn't be mistaken for inaction.
"Sometimes people assume that if they don't know about the consequences, they don't know the actions that have been taken because of student privacy, then the assumption is made that there haven't been consequences, and that's unfortunate,” said Hendricks.
Lamers Bus Line's terminal manager confirmed the bus driver did not report the incident.
Morales said she finds it hard to believe he saw nothing, especially since her son told the driver when the kids first started picking on him.
"He said, 'They told me that they want to beat me up. They're going to beat me up,’” said Morales.
Even though Morales has four children at three different schools, she said from now on she'd rather drive them than have them ride on the school buses again.
Afraid of retaliation for speaking out, the 13-year-old boy stayed home from school on Wednesday.
He said, even though he'd miss the friends he does have at school, he'd rather be home-schooled than go back.
His mother said that's an option she's seriously considering.
Police are conducting their own investigation into what happened, which Chief Mike Cass said should wrap up by the end of the week.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the school board decided to take a closer look at some of the policies surrounding the alleged bullying incident at a committee meeting on March 12.
Morales said she plans to be there.
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