CHICAGO (CBS) — Imagine starting your morning with a profanity-laced message the second you log on to your computer. A Chicago mother said her son experiences that when he starts virtual class.
Other students are cursing him out over chat, seemingly in front of the teacher’s eyes. CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory digs into what is being done to stop the bullies.
Crews are getting ready for a return to in-person classes at Reavis Elementary in Bronzeville after months of learning at home.
Carrie Woods thought she was proceeding with caution during remote learning, but after the watchful mom reported students fooling around during virtual class, 5th grader Breadon Davis said his misbehaving peers began to tease him.
“It just pops up randomly,” he said.
Breadon showed us the different remote learning tools the bullies use, like the chat box.
“They were saying, like, ‘f*** you,” his mom said. “They started calling him stupid. They threatened him, saying snitches get stitches.”
Other screenshots show classmates making fun of Breadon’s mother.
One day, his screen name was changed to “your mom cancer.” Another day it said “suicide kid.”
“That’s basically insinuating for him to kill himself and it just kept getting worse and worse from that point,” Woods said.
Chicago Public Schools’ anti-bullying policy specifically says employees must intervene if they witness bullying. So why wasn’t that happening if it is right on the screen?
“They said, to them, his name still said Breadon Davis, but we see something completely different,” Woods said.
“When I tell the teacher, the teacher says it’s just a regular message, but how is it a regular message if I can see it?” Breadon said.
Is it technologically possible the teacher cannot see the mean words?
“You should be able to do something or see something. This is a CPS-issued computer,” Woods said.
Woods sent some of these same screenshots to the school district.
The CPS tech team apparently investigated. Their findings?
“You literally told the principal, ‘Hey, we know it’s the kids sending these messages but we just don’t know how,'” Breadon’s mom said.
She wonders if this kind of cyberbullying could be happening across CPS.
“With the loopholes that we see, yeah, it’s possible it could be tons of children that are going through this,” she said.
With possibly only a few more weeks in the online classroom, Woods said she’s nervous for what awaits Breadon in the hallways at school.
The Chicago Public Schools said it cannot discuss specifics of Breadon’s case for privacy reasons. Their general statement about not tolerating bullying is as follows:
“CPS takes all allegations of bullying seriously and is committed to the safety of all students. While student privacy laws limit the information that can be provided, the school has provided supports and has handled this in accordance with CPS policies and procedures. The school will continue to follow District policy and continues to work with families to ensure student safety.”
Breadon’s mom said she hasn’t gotten any updates from CPS since we reached out on her behalf.