Teen Says She Was Suspended for Not Reporting Being Bullied

March 2, 2012  |  

School bullying seems to be following the pattern of rape reports with victims often having to defend themselves when they speak out, despite being the ones who were wronged.

A freshman at Lithonia High School in Georgia claims she received the same punishment as two girls who bullied her when she reported the incident to the school. Essance McDougald says three weeks ago two girls locked her in the bathroom at school and tried to fight her but when she reported the incident to the assistant principal in a three-page letter she ended up receiving a stern warning about her own behavior.

Essance’s grandmother Cornelius McDougald told WSB TV that reaction was inappropriate.

“If someone tells me they are going to suspend me for 7-10 days if I am being bullied, I’m not going to that assistant principal and reporting anything because I don’t want to be suspended from school.”

Cornelius decided to report the incident herself, but when she did, the school determined “everybody is bullying everybody,” and all three girls were suspended for two days. Essance says even as the girls were called to the principal’s office, she was still being threatened.

“The girl, when we was walking into the office, she said, ‘I swear for God, if I’m suspended, I’m gonna whoop her a.'”

Now she’s scared to return to school and is even considering homeschooling. According to a spokesman for the DeKalb County School District:

“The relationship between this student and another has been going on for some weeks and months now. We’ve had numerous mediations to clear it up, and it’s a mutual dispute between both of them. We will continue to have mutual mediations to de-escalate the situation.”

But Essance seems to already understand that most schools don’t do anything about bullying until it’s too late.

“There’s supposed to be no bullying at school, but if I do something to myself, then they would be like, ‘Oh, she is being bullied.’ Then they are going to do something about it.”

Hopefully, Essance won’t take matters into her own hands and can take advantage of homeschooling if Lithonia is too dangerous for her.

Do you think schools take bullying seriously enough?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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