Ritenour parent claims son was bullied

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The Ritenour School District denies that one of its administrators told a parent that bullying builds character.

This after a mother of an elementary student complained her son was being bullied and little was being done to stop it.

"Three children coming up to my son saying that he's ugly, he's fat he looks bad with his glasses on, 'Oh wait you look even worse with your glasses off,'" said Elizabeth Ashley.

Ashley's son attends Marvin Elementary in the Ritenour School District. She says the verbal abuse directed at her son has been going on for weeks.

"I talked to the teacher and then I went to the principal who had no idea what's going on with my son, which is what prompted me to transfer my son," said Ashley.

The school district denied the transfer request for Ashley's son to move to Iveland Elementary, a school in the Ritenour district the child had previously attended.

"I was told the very next day that it was denied, and that bullying builds character, that my son needed to suck it up," said Ashley.

"It's disheartening that a parent perceives that, but I'm really confident that is not something that was said," said Dr. Shelly Mills Walker, assistant superintendent of academic services.

Walker says the parent's claims were investigated and found not to be true.

"I'm beyond satisfied that that statement never would've been said," said Walker.

'There's no way I misunderstood that statement because I was on the phone with that representative over an hour fighting over that statement," said Ashley.

"We don't feel like that, bullying is not okay for any child for any reason at any time," said Walker.

"We just want our son to be able to go to school and be happy to go to school. I just want him to feel safe," said Ashley.

Clearly, there's a difference of opinion about what happened. NewsChannel 5's Art Holliday spoke with child psychologist Dr. Susan Sylvia, who hopes the school district can address the bullying problem instead of moving the child to another school, because that sets up a situation where the victim is being blamed for the bullying.


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