BALLWIN, Mo. — Body slammed in school.
That's what a Ballwin family says happened to their eighth grade son this week, leaving him with a serious concussion.
For months, Jesse Dawkins says he's been concerned about the hand his son is being dealt at Southwest Middle school.
It was last fall when the eighth grader, who we will not identify for security reasons, showed him a series of violent, threatening text messages
"The bully threatened to beat him to a bloody pulp and let him bleed out
I couldn't believe the language that was used," Dawkins said.
Despite intervention by school administrators, Dawkins said the bullying continued until it finally turned physical this week.
"The bully came up from behind, suplexed my son chest height, slammed him into the ground. He's had x-ray's, he can't walk straight right now. He has a note to be out of school because of a severe concussion," Dawkins said.
Dawkins says the incident was caught on school security camera, but despite that, he says his sons bully hasn't faced enough discipline.
"They say there's a zero tolerance but the school districts do absolutely nothing. He's not safe as long as this kids there," he said.
Dawkins has his doubts, pointing to social media posts allegedly made by the bully after the fight about how Dawkins' son snitched on him, and that he would be back in school soon.
"All he got was in school suspension, great job school district!" he said.
The school district couldn't comment on disciplinary action, but says any student involved in a fight or physical altercation will be suspended.
Here is the entire statement from the Parkway School District:
Fighting at school is a serious violation of Parkway’s discipline policy. Any student involved in a fight or other physical altercation will be suspended and may face additional consequences in accordance with our policy. Often, a safety plan is also put into place to help keep students safe.
While we can’t discuss details involving an individual student, we can confirm that the student involved has received consequences according to our policy and a safety plan has been initiated. This is the first incident at school involving these two students that has been reported to school officials. Parkway takes fighting at school very seriously and it will not be tolerated. But the facts in this situation do not warrant expulsion.
On Saturday, Parkway Southwest Middle School Principal Aaron McPherson released this email to parents of students at the school regarding the incident.
Dear Parkway Southwest Community,
I want to take the opportunity to clarify some information in regards to an incident that was inaccurately reported in a news story on KSDK, Channel 5 last night.
On Tuesday, February 12th there was an incident between two 8th grade students in which one student made inappropriate physical contact with another student. The student who made this inappropriate contact immediately received disciplinary consequences and was sent home. While this was reported on the news as an ongoing bullying issue in school, this was the first incident that occurred at school between these two students and no other concerns at school were reported to school administration or observed by us at school.
Physical violence at school is a serious violation of Parkway’s discipline policy. Any student involved in a fight or other physical altercation will be suspended and may face additional consequences in accordance with our policy. This expectation was followed in this case. These types of situations do not occur frequently, but when they do, we assign appropriate consequences. Safety plans, which outline a clear set of expectations for future behavior and student interactions, are put in place upon the student's reentry to the school community.
We were aware of some inappropriate social media comments that occurred between these students earlier in the school year. This occurred outside of school and did not reference any connection to school. Therefore it was not within our purview to give consequences. We did, however, do our best to support the students and to ensure that there were no issues at school. We also notified the parents of those students involved.
When issues take place outside of school, while we will always do our best to support students, we must rely on parents to solve issues that occur in neighborhoods or on social media. As a school, we can not give consequences nor are we responsible for student behavior that occurs outside of the school day unless is it is causing a significant disruption at school, which was not the case here. We encourage parents and students to report any inappropriate behavior outside of school to us immediately so that we can monitor behavior and put plans in place to ensure the safety of our students.
The news story also indicated that there was only an in-school suspension given as a consequence. Student privacy laws prohibit us from discussing the specifics of any student's consequences, however, we can tell you that this information was inaccurate. It’s important to know that student discipline and consequences are private information according to the law. Therefore, when information is shared in the news media or by word of mouth it is often inaccurate. The consequences given were determined in conjunction with the district discipline coordinator to ensure that we were matching normal practice.
At Southwest we take physical violence at school very seriously, and it will not be tolerated. Our partnership with parents is critical to the success of your child and the entire Southwest community. Working together as a team is always beneficial as we address issues that arise with our adolescent learners.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 314-415-7301.