CHICAGO (CBS) — A mother says Frankfort School District 157-C knowingly put her daughter in class with students who had bullied her before, so she’s organizing a protest.
Stephanie Pearson-Davis said it hurts to see Sydney crying every day after school. She said, for months now, her now 10-year-old daughter has been forced to share a classroom at Chelsea Intermediate School with the same students who bullied her in 2017.
“We’ve seen the stories of 9-year-olds hanging themselves. That is my biggest fear for my child,” Pearson-Davis said.
Pearson-Davis said the problem began in 2017, when Sydney had class with a group of students who would bully her daily.
“They demanded that she carry their art bag, or demanded that she carry their coat. … She would do that, and I think there was one time that she said ‘I didn’t like that. I didn’t like what that felt like,’ but otherwise she was trying to ‘Okay, I’m gonna do it, because I want to be friends, I want to be accepted,’ but that did not happen. It was the stealing of her supplies in class,” she said.
“Essentially, she was their slave, or their personal assistant in the classroom,” she added.
Despite meeting after meeting with school officials, Pearson-Davis said nothing changed until she got a lawyer involved. Sydney then was moved to a different classroom, and the district promised to keep her apart from the students she’d accused of bullying.
Pearson-Davis said the bullying started again this year when Sydney was put in the same class with some of those students, so school leaders started an investigation.
“They finally decided last week that no bullying occurred, and that the behaviors were inappropriate, but they had not risen to a level of … that they weren’t pervasive, and that Sydney had not been harmed,” she said. “I shouldn’t have been surprised by it; but this was a moment, you know, an opportunity for our district really to learn, and to decide that we are not going to tolerate this, and that maybe there were some missteps here, and we could do better.”
The district declined to comment on the situation, citing privacy laws.
“Nobody knows this pain, if you don’t have it, if you haven’t been here, if you haven’t had your daughter hold on to you for dear life, and have to push them away because you want them to go to school,” Pearson-Davis said.
Pearson-Davis said that’s why she’s moving forward with a protest at 6 p.m., ahead of the School District 157-C board meeting at 7 p.m. at Grand Prairie Elementary.
“I sent out a call to action, please help me gain awareness for my child. She is scared, and she is refusing to go to school. Help me. So that is where the protest came from,” Pearson-Davis said.