Amie Harris is organizing this fundraiser.
My name is Amie Harris and my autistic son Christopher has been been being bullied since last year at Fuguitt elementary, in Pinellas county. There were several times last year I brought it to the attention of Dr. Kathleen Bentley, the principal. She over and over assured me that nothing was happening and that she would look into it. My son was coming home with bruises and scratches on him every other day. Saying that kids were bullying him and being mean. I brought it to Dr. Bentley’s attention and was told there was no way he’s Being bullied. There was a specific incident last year that happened is when I knew that things just weren’t going to get better for my son, there was a little girl that showed my son her private area. He punched her in the privates and I was called to the school, at this point my son was being threatened to be singled out and would have to eat his meals in the office and have his class changed. I asked what was going to happen to the little girl and Dr. Bentley replied in a nasty manner ” nothing she did nothing wrong she’s not the one who assaulted him” so I said that I was going to seek legal representation in this matter because at this point my son is being isolated for an incident where he should be the one getting help. Dr. Bentley looked at my child and told him, ” you’re so much bigger then her she’s scared of you, how do you think she feels?” Meanwhile my child is the one that was exposed to another child’s private area. The next day Christopher wasn’t having to eat alone nor did he get his class switched. I was never once told about making a bully report nor was I told how his bullying problem would be resolved. The bullying continued, so badly to the point that I had to pull him off the school bus for the 2019-2020 school year, he told me how he was punched by another student. Fast forward to September 2, 2019, my son started acting in a very strange manner. His excitement of going to school stopped. He was petrified to go into the café and cried and begged me not to leave him and that kids were mean to him. He acted this way (getting progressively worse) up until September 12, 2019. I have gone into the office daily letting the office know my son was upset and having a hard time with being bullied. Again I was never told about a bully report nor what would be done. Only “we’ll look into it”. On September 12, 2019 I picked up my child early because I had a Dr appt and would not have made it back in time to get him. We’re walking to my car and my son started crying that his back was burning. That’s when I discovered a 4 inch gash on his side area, he stated that 2 other students slammed him into a fence. I could not get through to anyone at the school so I had my husband call. He spoke with Dr. Bentley and she was extremely rude and condescending about the incident. As if she didn’t care. When I found out how little she had done, I called over and over again trying to get through to Dr. Bentley. But was lied to by office staff that she wasn’t there. I ended up getting through to Stephanie Wagner. I told her of the incident and how little Dr. Bentley seemed to care and Ms. Wagner stated I could come in the following day and file a bully report with her. On Friday September 13, 2019 I took my child to school. I walked into the office and requested the Secretary to ask his teacher for an extension on his homework because the previous day when I picked him up the teacher had forgotten to send his backpack out with him. I then requested that I be notified the next time my son is injured like this because the only reason the incident got blown out of proportion was because of how rude and nasty the principal was with my husband on the phone. At this point she flies out of her office like a child and starts screaming at me that my husband was rude to her and cursing. I told her that my husband was not rude until she got rude and nasty. She said that my husband had lied to her about a gash being on my son’s head. I replied that he never told her there was a gash on my son’s head he said it was on his side she then proceeds to tell me that my husband is a liar and that he told her that the gash was on his head. I said regardless at this point what is going to be done about my son being bullied. She then again in a very nasty tone stated I know for a fact your son is not being bullied. So I said ma’am with all due respect if my child tells me he’s being bullied I believe him what is going to be done about this. She continues to be extremely rude to me and tries to argue with me about my son’s wound. I told her that I had alerted the school district and called the superintendent. I said I’m here to speak to miss Wagner to file a bully report. She then grabs a sticky note off of the desk and says in an extremely rude manner fine let’s just do this now what’s going on what’s the problem. I said I’m not here to speak with you about this matter I’m here to speak to miss Wagner about this. I again reminded her that I had already called the school district and the superintendent. She goes into her office and doesn’t come back out. I’m standing there waiting to see if she’s going to come back out and talk to me about the issue with my son being bullied. She never comes back out of her office. I asked the school officer what was going on and if I could leave. He stated no she’s on the phone with the police. At this point I am floored I start crying because I am under the impression that I am being arrested when all I was simply doing is inquiring what was going to be done about my son being bullied. Yes I was hysterical but not in an angry way I was crying uncontrollably because all I wanted to do was help my child. I waited for the police to come. She comes out of her office when they get there and says I want her trespassed. I said how am I going to be actively involved in my son’s education if I am trespassed from the property. I stated how I physically bring my son to school everyday and pick him up. I also stated that my son has an IEP and other behavioral meetings that require my attendance. She then proceeds to tell the officer that I am allowed on school property I am just not allowed in the office. Never once did she mention or state what she was going to do about my son being bullied other than call him a liar. I asked what grounds I was being trespassed for nobody could give me an answer. The officer gave me his card and I left. That following afternoon I went to go pick up my child. before my husband and I were able to make it on school property we were met by two School officers and the principal. The principle stated along with the school officials that we were not allowed on the property because we threatened to bring weapons to school property and hurt other people. My husband continued to try to explain that we never stated anything about weapons whatsoever and that we were told we are allowed to bring our child to the gate by the cafe and drop him off. The principle stated that we are not allowed on school property and kept continuing to try to interrupt my husband while he was speaking with the school officers. my husband tried to explain to the school officers about my son’s injury the previous day. He lifted his shirt to show the officers my son’s wound. In the school officer looked at my husband and said I don’t care about that. So my husband replied so you’re saying that you don’t care about my son being bullied. The school officer stated to my husband after he had said that we do care about your son being bullied we have zero tolerance for those matters. We walked away after we picked up our son and decided at that point in time that the principal was not a safe person for our child to be around. my son stated to me and his father that he hated himself and he just wanted to die. I asked him what he meant by that and why he would say that. My son said it was because he should have never told on the bullies because now I am in trouble. The principles irrational Behavior has caused my child to feel unsafe at that school and disciplinary action needs to be taken against her. This morning I called the officer that was at the school during the incident to verify what was going on because I was unsure as to why my husband and I were stopped before we got on school property. And he stated that I was correct in everything I was saying and that I had done nothing wrong all I was was a concerned mother. My child does not deserve to be called a liar or to be singled out and treated in this manner. She was extremely unprofessional and nasty and rude when all I was doing was trying to inquire about my son’s injury. my child is not the first to experience such extreme bullying at this school. Another student that attended there her name is charity was transferred to another school due to being bullied so badly to the point she was put in the hospital because she tried to kill herself. Since Friday’s incident I have been trying to get my child to talk to me about who is bullying him and what has been going on and now because of the principal’s actions in front of my child he refuses to speak to me about what’s wrong or anyone for that matter. When I try to speak with him about what happened he says I don’t want to get you in trouble anymore Mommy. I cannot get him to talk to me at all now because he feels that he did something wrong. I have worked with him for years to get him to voice what’s wrong because of his autism he can’t verbalize what’s wrong and now all my hard work is for nothing. I have spoken with the school district and they are allegedly looking into this. I had to pull my son out of school bc he no longer feels safe there, I am working on getting him into another school, I found a lawyer to take our case and need to raise 3,000 for the retainer fee, PLEASE HELP MY SON GET JUSTICE FOR WHATS HAPPENED TO HIM AND HELP ME STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING TO ANY OTHER CHILD LEFT IN KATHLEEN BENTLEYS HANDS #STOPBULLYING #NOCHILDLEFTBEHIND #AUTISMMATTERS #DIFFERENTNOTLESS
Amie Harris OrganizerLargo, FLContact