Parents of Auburn City School students speak out against bullyin - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Parents of Auburn City School students speak out against bullying incident

Cecilia Pugh and Ingrid Blizzard discuss bullying in the Auburn City School system. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Cecilia Pugh and Ingrid Blizzard discuss bullying in the Auburn City School system. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
AUBURN, AL (WSFA) -

Cecilia Pugh said her son woke her up from a nap on April 11 to tell her Allissa Pugh, her daughter, was in a physical altercation with two girls while getting off the bus.

Pugh said she immediately went to the bus stop to get her twin daughters, Allissa and Arrissa, but she didn’t see the altercation. It wasn’t until after another student sent her daughter a video of her getting “jumped on” that Pugh saw what happened.

“They kicked her in the head, the neck, and it hurt me,” Pugh said. “As a result, she had a concussion. I’ve had to take her to the doctor two times.”

Pugh said Allissa wasn’t able to sleep or eat for a few days following the incident. She said watching her daughter get beat up and knowing the video was being shared to social media was hurtful.

“It was hurtful to watch her get kicked and beaten like that,” Pugh said. “I just cried at first.”

According to Pugh, she and her daughters had a run in with the same two girls about six months ago.

“They weren’t supposed to be on that bus,” Pugh said. “They had been bullying her, and they were told they weren’t supposed to be on that bus.”

Allissa Pugh said the girls had been picking on her leading up to the physical incident on April 11. In the video, Pugh approaches the two girls first. She said that was after the girls had been bullying her and her twin sister on the bus, where they were not supposed to be. 

She said the feeling of having to always be prepared to physically defend herself does take her focus off of studies.

“I have a lot of tests coming up that I can’t focus on,” Pugh said. “I’m not afraid though. It’s just the way it is. I just hope this shines a light on bullying in general. It can happen to me a thousand times if that means other people won’t have to deal with it.”

Ingrid Blizzard said she knew she had to reach out to Pugh when her daughter came home and told her about Allissa’s incident. She said her own daughter, also a sophomore in Auburn City Schools, had been beat up twice. The first time, in January, she said was on school property. She was also sent a video of the altercation after it had been posted to Facebook.

“I went to the courts, and they were given six months of probation,” Blizzard said. “I didn’t think they should be in the same classroom as my daughter, but the school didn’t make any changes until I filed a restraining order.”

On Saturday night, Blizzard said the two girls who beat her daughter up in January attacked her daughter again at a party.

“She said they came this time with about 20 girls,” Blizzard said. “She was able to get to her car and drive away, but she said they were yelling that they were going to drag her.”

Blizzard said she feels Auburn City Schools and the Auburn Police Department could do more, considering the school system has a handbook that addresses bullying and harassment.

With regards to the April 11 altercation, the school system stated that the police department is working the investigation. They released a written statement: 

“Our system has provided training for faculty and staff related to prevention of bullying and harassment. Students also are presented information sessions to help prevent this behavior."

“I am deeply saddened when our students are involved in such incidents and we work diligently to help them in learning to solve problems without violence,” said ACS Superintendent Dr. Karen DeLano.

Pugh has filed a police report and is preparing to press charges. She said she also plans to work with attorneys to push for firmer bullying legislation in Alabama.

The Auburn Police Department has released a statement about a confrontation on April 11 between three female students, referencing a video depicting the incident: 

"The Auburn Police Division's investigation of a confrontation between three female students that occurred after school in the 900 block of Booker Street on April 11th has concluded.  The entirety of a previously released and partial video has now been reviewed.  Juvenile Complaint forms have been submitted to Lee County Juvenile Court for consideration.  The case has been reviewed by officials with juvenile court and the DA's Office and is pending a final disposition."   

The portion of the Student Parent Handbook addressing the issue states this:

STUDENT HARASSMENT PREVENTION ACT (§ 2009-571)

§ No student shall engage in or be subjected to harassment, intimidation, violence, or threats of violence on school property, on a school bus, or at any school-sponsored function by any other student in his/her school system.

§ No person shall engage in reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation against a victim, witness, or other person who has reliable information about an act of harassment, violence, or threat of violence.

§ Any student, or parent/legal guardian of the student, who is the object of harassment may file a complaint outlining the details of the harassment, on a form authorized by the local Board, and submit the form to the official designated by the local Board to receive complaints at the school. The Harassment Investigation Formsare available on the ACS website, from your student’s school principal, the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum or the Director of Human Resources.

§ Each school shall develop plans or programs, including, but not limited to, peer mediation teams, in an effort to encourage students to report and address incidents of harassment, violence, or threats of violence.

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