42-year-old Kimberly Breton posted a video of her 13-year-old son being bullied at Semmes Middle School. In less than 10 days, the video has been viewed more than 2.4 million times.Prescotte Stokes IIIfirstname.lastname@example.org
What started out as a awkward conversation between 13-year-old Drew Breton and his mother about him being suspended from school for fighting, has turned into a viral video on social media giving millions a front row seat to bullying.
His mother, 42-year-old Kimberly Breton said that until the video surfaced she was skeptical about what exactly happened.
"He told me what happened the day before but then the next day he came home off the bus and said he was suspended," said Breton.
Breton said the bullying incident initially took place on November 4th at Semmes Middle School in Mobile County. Out of 17 middle schools in the district, for the 2016-2017 school year Semmes is the largest school with 1,484 students.
Breton said she didn't find out about the video until a week later when Drew told her rumors were going around the school that the incident had been filmed.
"He's the one who found and told me about and I downloaded it because it was on Youtube," said Breton "I was scared it would be deleted so I downloaded for evidence."
He older son, Corbin Breton downloaded the video as well and posted it on Facebook on November 13th. In less than 10 days, the video has been viewed more than 2.4 million times.
Video shows violent bullying in Alabama middle school
As Kimberly Breton stood in front of her home in Wilmer, Alabama trying to keep her composure, her voice cracked when she talked about her initial reaction to seeing the video.
"I think I cursed and I was like he's not fighting at all," said Breton. "He's walking away he's defending himself and the school told me the complete opposite."
As she gathered her thoughts, she said that brought her back to her reasoning before seeing the video. She gave the school officials the benefit of the doubt about how they claimed the incident unfolded.
"What do I do? My son is saying one thing and the school is saying another I didn't know what to do," said Breton.
She said she believed her son the entire time and when the video surfaced she brought her concerns to school officials.
"They wanted to lead me to believe that they had no video of it with all the cameras that are in the school," said Breton.
On Saturday, November 19, six days after the video had been posted on Facebook the Mobile County Public Schools posted a message on their Facebook page regarding the incident.
A Semmes Middle School student in Mobile County was bullied and it was all caught on camera and the video has gone viral video on social media.Prescotte Stokes IIIemail@example.com
Mobile County Public Schools Superintendent Martha Peek said her central office administration was not made aware of the incident until the video was posted on social media. On Saturday her office received numerous calls from concerned parents.
"What we're doing right now is a complete investigation right now to find out all of the details," said Peek.
Peek said the investigation by her office into the school's handling of the incident began on Saturday. Her office has been busy contacting administrators at the school to get the facts of what happened. She said that the investigation should be completed once everyone returns to work after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"Just from looking at the discipline records that we have I'm not sure that there was any knowledge at the the school about the situation filmed in the hall," said Peek.
Breton said the student seen hitting Drew in the video was sent home by school officials the day of the incident.
"His dad was going to deal with him or something but I felt like that was not appropriate enough," said Breton.
Breton said school officials removed Drew from suspension and wanted to have a parent teacher conference about the incident, which started started in a physical education class minutes before the video was filmed.
"He (Drew) had told the guy he was coward for trying to jump him the day before," said Breton "That's when the other boy said well that's my boy if you got a problem with him you got a problem with me."
From that point the :59 second video takes place showing Drew being pushed and hit in the back of the head and face repeatedly. Breton says what upsets her more is that there were no teachers in the hallway during the incident.
Superintendent Peek said she was disturbed watching the video.
"Anytime you see something like that it's very disturbing as a educator for a number of years I never want to see anything like that," said Peek.
Drew's mother said she was appalled by the lack of teachers around while the incident played out.
"There were no teachers in the hallway and when ran to the classroom the door was locked," said Breton "It just broke my heart that the school is creating this environment and not protecting our kids when they are at school."
Peek says the MCPSS code of conduct covers bullying and harassment in the same category, but has slightly different protocols in place for disciplinary action involving each incident. Harassment can range from someone being called a name to being shoved.
"But bullying is a more aggressive discipline it's what we determine a code C," said Peek "because it involves the type of bullying that would be a problem for another student and this has been regarded a bullying incident."
The student incident report (also called the SIR report) is filed by each school each school year. It list violations of certain categories of behaviors. The state of Alabama mandates which incidents have to be reported.
Semmes Middle School
Disobedience - Persistent, Willful
Other Incidents Resulting in a State defined Disciplinary Action
Disorderly Conduct - Other
Electronic Pagers/Unauthorized Communication device
Profanity or Vulgarity
Larceny/Theft/Robbery/Possession of Stolen Property
Other/Unknown Weapon, Possession
Any bullying would be reported under the "harassment" section of the report for Semmes.
Peek says this disturbing incident serves as a reminder that the MPSS will need to do more about bullying and harassment in their schools.
"We've got to go out and do a refresher on what needs to be done should bullying take place," said Peek "and also with our faculty and staff members of being alert about bullying."
Breton says Drew isn't taking the incident to heart and has been supported by his friends in the aftermath. He also had Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran come out and talk to him about the incident.
"He's got lots of good friends in the art academy he's in at the school but my main concern is with the school," said Breton.
Breton said she does not plan on pressing charges against the students in the video. Peek says she urges parents to listen to their children and contact the MPSS central office if they are unsure about a situation.
"If there are questions that are not being answered at the school level contact the central office," said Peek "and just as we're doing now we'll conduct an investigation to make sure the situation is addressed as it should be."
Education Reporter, Trish Crain contributed to this report.