Local mom speaks out about bullying in elementary school

Posted by Jessi Turnure

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - With August just around the corner, many kids are excited to begin another year at school.

But Crystal Gibson said that's not the case for her 11-year-old daughter.

"She was getting bullied a lot through the time of people calling her stupid, calling her ugly, and telling her that she wasn't smart enough."

Gibson said this started at the beginning of the last school year. "Montina was bullied all through the school year she was bullied. And it was by the same people every time. It got so bad of her being bullied that she tried to strangle herself and tried to commit suicide so that she would not be around for people to pick on her."

Gibson said Montina spent ten days in a recovery center after this incident. Montina is now back home with her family and happy, but dreading the thought of her return to school.

"I'm very scared to send my daughter back to school this year. Unfortunately, I have to send her to the same one," Gibson said.

Gibson says she urged Montina's school to do something about the bullying. "I asked them if they would just pull a meeting in. Pull the parents in, pull the children in so we could all sit down and discuss it. They said that was confidential information and they could not release it to me."

The Jonesboro School District Handbook says bullying is prohibited conduct and the minimum punishment is a conference or parent notification.

The school's principal told Region 8 they worked with Montina's family thoroughly and visited her home after she tried to take her life. The principal said they did everything they could do in this case.

"I wanna tell her, 'Hey, Montina, you're gonna have a great school year and it's gonna be better than last year.' But unfortunately, I can't promise her that. How can we send our kids to school when they don't feel protected?," Gibson said.

Gibson said she knows Montina is not the only victim of bullying in Region 8. "Even if your kid has not came to you and said, 'Hey, mommy, I'm being bullied' or 'Hey, mommy, I am a bully,' we encourage that you parents sit down and talk to your children. You never know what's going on unless you take the time to sit down and ask them."

"I hope if you've been bullied, don't end up like me going to the hospital for it," Montina said.

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