Bullying Stops Son From Going To School, Says Mom

4:48 PM, Mar 17, 2011   |    comments
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FORT WASHINGTON, Md. (WUSA) --- Mary Thomas says Friendly High School has failed to protect her son from bullies. Fifteen-year-old Darrell Forrest has stopped going to school for three weeks now.

Forrest has developmental delays. He enrolled in the high school for the first time this year.  He says bullies gave him a bloody lip, called him 'gay,' and drew obscene pictures and words on his backpack.

"I tell the teachers. They say they'll do stuff, but they never do," says Forrest.

Thomas says she has e-mailed the principal, called teachers, and filled out the anti-bullying form to deal with the problem. But the bullying has not stopped since October, she says.

9NEWS NOW's calls to the principal's office at Friendly High School were not returned. However, Prince George's County Public School's Chief of Student Services, Karyn Lynch, e-mailed a response to 9NEWS NOW:

"As in all cases, Prince George's County Public Schools communicates with families to work toward a resolution. We are unable to provide any specific information on confidential student-related matters."

"They see me as the weak kid, or someone that's easy to mess with," Forrest says. He also claims the bullies ripped open his jacket, a gift from his grandmother, during one physical incident.

Mom says she has filed a hearing with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). MSDE's Bill Reinhard responded saying a resolution meeting was held March 9, 2011. However, "Mom and School System agreed that they were at impasse." Another hearing is being scheduled. 

Meanwhile, Darrell's grades are slipping, says his mom. He does not have a tutor, but he has been doing homework sent home by his teachers.

His mom says her son is usually a 'happy child,' but he looks depressed.

Forrest says he would like to return to school, but he feels scared and wants the bullying to stop. 

Prince George's County Public School does devote a section to 'Anti-Bullying' on its website.  The website encourages students to report bulllying.

Written by Elizabeth Jia
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.com

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