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Camden County school bus fight highlights bullying problem, parent says

School says students involved in fight have been disciplined

KINGSLAND, Ga. – A school bus fight in Camden County was caught on camera, and parents told News4Jax it was another case of bullying.

In the video shared by a parent, you can see one girl kicking another girl, then grabbing her hair and punching her until someone breaks it up.

Camden County Schools said it investigated the incident, which happened Oct. 16 after the bus left Camden County Middle School.

"Upon receiving the report, an investigation was launched, which included interviews with individuals having firsthand knowledge of the exchange. Following the investigation, two students received consequences for their involvement in the incident," said Phoebe Floyd, Camden County Schools communications specialist.

"She's supposed to be there to get her education to move on, and she’s not getting that because her focus is on fear of being in school," said a Camden County Middle School parent whose child was not involved with the incident.

The parent told News4Jax her daughter has been bullied ever since moving to Camden County four years ago.

"It’s been a lot of racial slurs," she said. "She’s gotten to the point where going to class, she’s been shoved into lockers and ugly notes have been written about her."

"Consequences for infractions, and expectations for behavior, on a school bus are consistent with those for students in school buildings during the school day," Floyd said in a statement. 

The principal of Camden Middle School sent a letter to students that said students who have missed more than eight days or who have been in a fight this year may not attend any extracurricular activities, including the Fall Dance on Thursday.

A few days after the incident, an "Electronic Device Warning" was posted on the middle school's Facebook page:

Students will not be allowed to take video or pictures of teachers, staff or student without permission, cannot post unauthorized photos or videos on the Internet and cannot take photos or videos while in the school building, on school grounds, at the bus stop or at any other school sponsored activity. 

Floyd said the policy is part of the Student Code of Conduct.

In a statement to News4Jax, Floyd said, "There are several sources of support made available to teachers and students which equip them with the skills to identify and assist students who may feel unsafe due to the words or actions of their peers or who may be thinking of committing an act of self-harm."

For students who may feel more comfortable reporting safety concerns for themselves or others anonymously, Floyd said Camden County Schools offers a 24-hour care hotline, email and web reporting service. Students or parents with safety concerns may call 1-833-300-STOP, email tipline@securly.com or submit a concern online to www.securly.com/tip.

According to a Camden County Schools database, there has been one case of bullying reported in the district so far during the 2019-20 school year. Last school year, there were seven reports of bullying in the district which is composed of 12 schools.

According to Camden County Schools, there are more than 1,000 students enrolled in middle schools. So far this school year, there have been 77 in-school suspensions and 40 out-of-school suspensions. The district also reports more than 20 cases of fighting, but no cases of bullying at the middle schools.


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