Greenville, SC – The mother of a little boy who was being bullied at school took matters into her own hands and confronted the bullies, but later said she regretted that decision.
“I don’t regret standing up for my child one bit,” Jamie Rathburn told CNN. “I regret the way I did it.”
The incident occurred on May 17 at Greenbrier Elementary School when an angry Rathburn burst into the school and began shouting at some eight- and nine-year-old boys in the hallway, WHNS reported.
The warrant for Rathburn’s arrest said that the school’s surveillance cameras had captured video of the mother entering the school without permission and approaching a group of boys sitting in the hallway.
She was accused of yelling at the children and hurling obscenities at a teacher who tried to intervene, WHNS reported.
Rathburn said her son had endured both verbal and physical bullying throughout the entire school year and claimed she had reported it to school officials on numerous occasions, CNN reported.
She said school officials did nothing to alleviate her son’s suffering and eventually separated her son from other students “for his protection.”
Rathburn said administrators had a teacher follow her son everywhere he went, including to lunch and the playground, CNN reported.
She said that was the final straw that sent her raging to the elementary school to confront her son’s tormentors.
“I walked right in that school [and] told those children that bullying wasn’t okay,” Rathburn told CNN. “If they wanted to continue then I needed to talk to their mommas because the school wasn’t doing anything.”
The mother admitted that she cussed out her son’s teacher and the school principal during her tantrum.
Three days later, on May 20, Rathburn was arrested and charged with nonstudent interfering, disrupting or disturbing schools, WHNS reported.
The misdemeanor charge carries the potential fine of up to $2,000 and a jail term of no more than a year.
Ironically, police only became aware of the incident when the mother posted a video rant to Facebook afterwards, CNN reported.
That video has since been deleted.
Rathburn said she wishes she had handled the problem in a different way.
“I do owe the staff, parents and students an apology — absolutely,” Rathburn told CNN. “My actions were wrong whether it was for the right reason or not. Putting myself in their shoes, I can understand how anyone would be upset.”
The Greenville County School District sent out a statement that said they had been working with Rathburn to solve the bullying problem before the incident.
They wrote that they believed the mother's frustration was based on the fact that the school district refused to tell Rathburn how her son’s bullies had been punished because of privacy restrictions, WHNS reported.
“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 school district wrote. “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. There is also a formal complaint form that can be filed with the school or the district that would launch a broad scale investigation. Ms. Rathburn never filed the complaint form or contacted anyone at the district level prior to taking illegal action.”
“We should point out that her arrest came after concerned adults watched Ms. Rathburn’s threatening, profanity-laden videos on social media and called law enforcement, not because our employees chose to file charges,” the statement continued. “She was placed on no trespass with Greenville County Schools after an internal investigation, not because she confronted a school bully, but because of her actions. Ms. Rathburn illegally entered a school (by her own admission), yelled at a group of young students because she didn't know which boy she was looking for, and cursed a school employee.”