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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. One New Hanover County mother says this is not the case for her son. She says her son is the victim of bullying, and she is afraid the problems will escalate quickly.

Tabitha Richard’s son, a sixth grade student at Williston Middle School, says he’s being bullied, and he’s too afraid to return back to class.

“I just want my child to be safe. That’s all,” Richard said. “I’m scared for my child.”

After a fight at school earlier this month, Richard says her son does not feel safe at Williston Middle School. She says she is pressing charges against the boy she says is bullying and abusing her son, but she does not think that’s enough.

“The dean told me that the other guy, his rap sheet is long,” Richard said about the boy she says is bullying her son. “He is a troublemaker in school. Why is he not put out of New Hanover County Schools yet? He’s able to bully these kids, but he can still get suspended for ten days and then come right back and do the same thing.”

Richard says her son is not the only one being picked on on campus, but many of the students being bullied may be afraid to talk to others about it.

Hannah Manson is the Behavior Specialist for New Hanover County Schools. She says safety is the district’s number one priority in schools, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to look out for each other.

“It’s very important that we all foster those environments in our schools of safety, so if other students are seeing that a child is being targeted or bullied, they have a responsibility to report as well,” Manson said. “And that goes for parents, too. If they are aware that a child is being targeted, we all have a responsibility to look out for one another.”

Richard says she’s done everything she can to make sure her son is safe, and now she hopes that something is done before it’s too late.

The school district says it cannot talk about this specific case.

The district is hosting a bullying workshop for parents February 3 at Williston Middle School. Manson hopes parents will attend the event to learn how to empower their children. The event will be offered in both English and Spanish.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest2020

    He didn’t say that all were thugs. He said that most were thugs. I think that someone your age taking an interest in such things and giving an opinion is a good thing.

  • guest128

    ive graduated from williston last year and their were any problems the staff where very strict. and about that comment you made all people at williston are hoodlums well im not nor my family my parents are 2 very great people with high paying jobs. so not every black person is ghetto. learn to think before thinking. -14yr african-american boy

  • guesty

    You should have paid more attention in English class.

    If you want the same high paying job your parents have, you better lean spelling, punctuation and basic sentence structure first.

  • Guest

    If you remember correctly the board voted AGAINST “socioeconomic redistricting”, not for it. That is why we have neighborhood schools, which means racially isolated, overwhelmingly high poverty schools in some areas, with overwhelmingly affluent schools in others. If more folks had been aware and supported board of education candidates who saw the problems a neighborhood school plan would create than we wouldn’t be in this mess. But our county overwhelmingly supported candidates who felt mandated to resegregate our schools.

  • E

    Do you even know where Williston School is?

  • 1234Guest

    Wow I see how this goes. I tryed to write a comment on here this morning and thought my comment was a good one. I have lived this situation with these schools for years. I guess whoever read my comment didn’t agree. Way to go WWAy. Your news Channel sucks anyhow.

  • KrisC

    I was a teacher at Williston in the 1970s and I was bullied. In that time shots were fired. It was hard, but I stood up to it. Bullies want you to stand up to them, but they just laugh and do it more. I don’t care what some counselor sitting up in an office drinking coffee eating a donut says. Away from the mainstream, they and administration do very little. The best thing to do is to get out before it’s too late. But where do you go? Those bullies are who should go, right now.

  • please

    Tell your son to pull up his big boy panies and step up to the plate. As long as he runs around scared everyone will bully him the rest of his life. Pick up something and crack the boys skull and he will leave people alone. Stop being a airtime cry baby to fulfill WWAY’s desires to air such foolish stories.

  • guesty

    The problem with Williston is most of the children that attend there are local, downtown hoodlums without any parental supervision. Then when they arrive at school that behavior continues. The school board tried to fix that with their magical “socioeconomic redistricting” That ended up dropping a bunch of white children in a school in the hood with undisciplined future thugs.

  • Guestin

    the reason the kid has a long rep of being a bully because his parents don’t care or they are scared to take a paddle to him because the government will put you in jail for paddling because they have a quota to fill the prison with and no discipline and they will overflow the jails and prisons.

  • Guestasver

    The majority of aggressive children is a result of EXCESS violence in the home, such as a fist or a belt to the face, not a lack of a spanking on the butt. No parent has EVER in the HISTORY of this country gone to prison for a ‘paddling’. Quite the opposite. We have abusive parents, neglective parents, parents who sexually assault their children, allowed to get away with their crimes on a daily basis with no action taken.

    THIS is where bullies come from, violence and sexual behavior in the home, not a nosey government.

  • Concerned mom

    I too have had to deal with a similiar situation at a brunswick county school this year . My so is in the fourth grade and there was a kid in his class who was doing the same thing . Thankfully my son was never a victim but that didnt matter it still effected him the same way . This kid beat up 3 different children on 5 different occasions. The assistant principal was there for one and he got away from her and continued to hit the child. Really?? How in the world can an adult not stop a fourth grader from commiting more violence. My son was scared to go to school in fear he would be next. I called the principal I dont know how many times and he assured me it would not happen again , and it did 3 more times!! Finally the kid moved away. Which was the best news we could have gotten . This also effects the other students in the class but the schools dont seem to care . Out of 5 times the boy was suspended twice and was still let back into the classroom after every time . The school systems really need to rethink their system and do somethign about it before it is too late …………

  • wooduck

    good question mom. why are violent problems allowed to endanger others? thank you for standing up for your child.

  • New Hanover Mother

    Bullying has taken on a new form over the years. It has gotten worse than ever in our schools. But, not as much as at Williston and New Hanover High School. Let me tell you what happens when your child decides to fight back, because there is no other way out. My daughter was backed between two slim rows of chairs in the classroom. When, the bell rang the teacher was more concerned about what was happening in the hallway than who was left in the classroom. With his back turned to the class, a girl ran up to my daughter and sucker punched her. My daughter had no other way out but to fight back, rather than let the girl beat on her. Which is exactly what she should have done. Let me tell you what the school said over this. They called me and said she would not be allowed on the bus, but I had to come and talk to the resource officer before she would be released from school. I left my job for this mess. In the end they said she had a way out of the fight and that she should have not swung on the girl and just let her hit her. We ended up having to go through the Juvienile Detention center and my daughter got community service over this mess and she was taken out of school for 3 weeks and she wasn’t allowed to go to her school dance over this mess. The other girl was given the SAME thing, but yet she was the bully in this case. Now, the other girl is in foster care at The Boys and Girls Home in Lake Waccamaw. I don’t like fighting I think it is senseless, but if you feel you have no other choice and are in fear of your life. DO IT. I still think Williston is at fault over some of this. Keeping those 8th graders on one hall all day together just causes tensions to rise. Both schools in my opnion need to be shut down. It is time for new High schools and middle schools. To the mother of this child who is being bullied they can not keep your child safe the whole time he is there. Just go and sit in the main office for awhile and watch the staff and the kids interact. NO RESPECT from either sides. It is a shame. Get ready high school is worse.

  • concernmom

    If you have gone to the local level of the school. Go to the broad of Ed. then Contact your local council members. bring it on to. There is no reason and no need for some one to go through this each day. The working on it method doesn’t work with bulling. Stop it in his tracks. Call the cops on them and press charges. That is what is wrong now. Nobody does anything about it. but, cover it up. I am very proud of your son for coming forward and telling and asking for help. Please keep him safe and give lots of hugs

  • Guest098

    Bullying usually is accompanied by assault. It is not tolerated in the adult world and usually ends up in charges being filed. The same should be true for schools. Any bully should be permanently suspended. The schools do nothing then everyone comes unglued when a victim brings a gun or knife to school to even the score.

  • Lori1234

    Parents who have kids who bully are the least likely to attend a bullying workshop for parents. Districts need to identify children who are not behaving properly, risking the teachers and the kids, and either refer them to social services for involuntary services intervention and behavioral counseling or remove them permanently from the school.

  • anne

    If all that is said in this story is accurate, this mom needs some help for her son and she needs it fast. Bullying is never acceptable (and for those who say it is a rite of passage for every kid) shut up! Bullying today has become so violent and widespread and it needs to be stopped. The school board needs to push the “political correctness” aside and get the troublemaker out of school. Where are the parents? Drag their butts in and get the message across to them that their son’s bullying won’t be tolerated. Evidently the kid needs help and if the parents won’t do anything about it, the state should.

  • Nothing new

    My son attended Williston for a short time. He came home from school one day, obviously beat up. He had been jumped at the bus stop by several boys that morning. NO one at the school noticed or cared to notice. His clothes were ripped and he had bruises and a footprint on his back. The principal walked past him looked at him and kept going. He tried to tell his teacher that morning, she told him to go sit down.
    When I went to the school, very angry, asked why I wasn’t called or the situation handled. I was told by the teacher that she just assumed we were poor and that was why he was wearing torn clothes, even though they were obviously brand new! (other than the rips) She gave no explanation regarding her assumptions about the bruised face or footprint on the kidney. Nothing was done at all about the situation! NOTHING!
    In short, if you want your child to be cared for at school, home school!
    Good Luck! Mom you will need it!


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