Police arrested a South Carolina mother in May after she entered a Greenville-area school to confront her child’s purported bullies.
According to WHNS-TV, authorities charged Rathburn with non-student interfering, and disrupting, or disturbing schools.
What are the details?
Jamie Rathburn entered Greenbrier Elementary School and verbally attacked a group of third-grade students who were sitting in the hall, according to police. Authorities reported that Rathburn reportedly shouted at them, pointed her finger at the group in a “threatening manner,” and used profane language when addressing a teacher.
Rathburn said that her son endured a long period of bullying while attending the school.
“He was told that he was ugly, that he was stupid, nobody cared, and he was called gay, he was cussed out, and when he reported those things, he was told to ignore it,” Rathburn said according to WFLD-TV.
She also told WSPA-TV that she documented many of the attacks in a ledger-style book.
“Hit, kicked, hit with computer, shoved, jerked off slide ladder from behind his neck, kid tried choking him, he had small scratches and red marks on his neck,” a portion of the entries read.
It likely wasn’t a surprise that Rathburn ended up at the school.
On the same day as her arrest, the South Carolina mom reportedly shared a Facebook video complaining about the alleged bullying behaviors, explaining that she “was not playing around” and insisted that the children stop harassing her son.
The incident was caught on the school’s CCTV cameras.
Beth Brotherton, Greenville County Schools’ director of communications, said that the district “does not tolerate bullying regardless of age.”
“An incident on the playground where her son was pulled off a slide was addressed swiftly by school administrators, and the child responsible was disciplined according to our behavior code,” Brotherton told Newsweek in a statement. “It was also reported that other students had made faces at him and comments about his haircut. In these cases, you could argue that this is typical behavior from eight-year-olds. Is it kind? No. Is it right? No. Is it bullying?”
“That,” she continued, “is in the eye of the beholder. These incidents involved other children in the class, not the child responsible for the playground injury, and did not rise to a level that required school discipline. His mom felt that he was being bullied, but that does not automatically mean that the school was negligent or uncaring in its response to the actions of his classmates.”
An additional, lengthy statement from the school read, “The school principal and the classroom teacher were taking active steps to protect the child and remedy any inappropriate behavior from his peers.”
“Prior to [Rathburn] illegally entering the school building, yelling at a large group of small children and cursing at employees, Ms. Rathburn was receiving regular updates from the teacher about her son’s interactions with classmates,” the statement continued. “The teacher offered suggestions to the parent, and kept a close eye on her child and those accused of bullying.”
“It is our opinion that the appropriate reaction to unhappiness with a school response is to have a conversation with the adults in charge,” the statement added. “In this case, that would be the teacher, the principal, and other school administrators, or the district administration, and not a hallway filled with eight- and nine-year-old children.”
You can read the statement in its entirety here.
Has Rathburn said anything else on the matter?
Rathburn expressed her remorse over the actions and admitted that she allowed “emotions” to dictate her behavior.
She has gone on to launch a GoFundMe page to raise money for her legal fees. At the time of this writing, Rathburn has received more than $2,000 in donations of her $8,000 goal.
“I am absolutely ashamed of myself for the actions of walking up into that school,” she said. “I owe the parents, the children, and the staff an apology for that. Absolutely, it was wrong. … I don’t know how I could have gotten my message across any other way.”
Rathburn is no longer allowed onto school property after the incident, but she is apparently sticking to her guns when it comes to defending her child.
She told CNN, “I don’t regret standing up for my child one bit. I regret the way I did it.”