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Indianapolis mom wants school to protect her son from bullying

Posted at 6:58 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 20:22:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A mother says her autistic son has continually been bullied by another student at Kitley Elementary in the Franklin Township Community School district.

For months, Melissa Rhynes says her 10-year-old son, Wyatt, has been bullied by the same student at the elementary school. Wyatt has autism and is cognitively disabled.

"I don't want him to feel the pain - and any pain that I can take away, I absolutely will. I just can't with the school anymore," Rhynes said. "They're not protecting my child like I would."

Pictures show red marks on his back (above), where the student allegedly punched and assaulted Wyatt. When the student attacked Wyatt again - he slammed Wyatt's hand in a door.

"He was supposed to be watched by a teacher, ran across the building to go find my child, seek him out with malice intent, and hurt him," Rhynes said. "They slammed my child's hand into a door."

Rhynes says she's reached out to the school at least four to five times. The school told her they were keeping the two children separated from each other. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to work.

"It's not just about my child and me and my family; it's about other children and their parents. Making them aware that this is not OK."

RTV6 spoke with the school principal, who said they are working with students, parents, staff, and special education teachers. They say they're handling this issue in accordance with special education laws that differ from the traditional policy. Due to Monday's incident, however, they're making adjustments to the original plan.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, each school corporation has local control over its own bullying policies. Although, school corporations must include, at a minimum, the following:

  • A bullying prevention program using age-appropriate, research based information.
  • Establish an investigation and reporting procedure process.
  • Apply date-wide discipline rules defined by the Department of Education.
  • Must train all staff and employees with bullying prevention policies.