Walthall County school bullying not taken seriously? - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walthall County school bullying not taken seriously?

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

SANDY HOOK, MS (WLBT) - 13-year-old Sarah Stroud says on one occasion during the last school year at Dexter Attendance Center, she stood up to a 13-year-old boy in defense of her younger brother.  After that, she says, she was subjected to a string of threats from the boy, who was usually quiet and reserved.

"While our teacher was teaching, he was talking out loud, saying he hopes a lightning bolt strikes my head," said Sarah.  "He said he's gonna strap me down to a roller coaster and watch me crash."

She says the teacher didn't take the threats seriously, but they scared her to the point that she lost her appetite and couldn't sleep.

Her mother, Deonna Stroud, said the threats only got worse.  "One of the classmates was with her one day where he said he was gonna bind her hands, feet, and throw her in a body of water, watch her drown," said Sarah's mother.

Unfortunately, the family says, school principal Deborah Pittman was informed of the threats and didn't take action.

Stroud then went to Walthall County Schools Superintendent Danny McCallum.

McCallum told WLBT News Wednesday that at the end of last school year, the school counselor not only met with Stroud and her daughter, but she also met with the alleged aggressor.

"(The counselor) didn't feel he would follow through.  He wasn't serious.  As a mother, that wasn't good enough for me," said Deonna.

McCallum said the investigation is ongoing.

But Stroud is not comfortable sending Sarah back to school this year.  She showed us letters written to the school board pointing out other incidents where Principal Pittman allegedly didn't take control and a petition signed by dozens of parents who want the principal removed.

"All I ask the school system is to protect my children when they're in your care," said Deonna. "I don't want anything to happen to my daughter, for someone to finally listen."

The Strouds want the boy to be required to submit to regular counseling.

We visited the school to speak with Principal Pittman, but she was unavailable for comment.

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