After hearing that her son was violently choked and seeing the scratches left on his neck, a desperate mother confronted the boy’s bullies and told them to stop. However, instead of her son’s abusers being punished, she’s the one who’s been arrested.
For the entire school year, Jamie Rathburn has been forced to stand by and watch as her third-grade son repeatedly returned home with tears or physical injuries courtesy of his relentless tormentors. Despite endlessly reporting the incidents to school officials, the concerned mother says that it was never resolved.
Having made a list of her son’s heartwrenching abuse, Rathburn became enraged that the school had repeatedly failed to protect her son or properly punish the bullies. In fact, they had made the situation worse by simply having an administrator follow and monitor her son at all times, making him even more of a target from his peers’ ridicule.
Fed up and desperate, Rathburn decided that no one was going to help her son and that it was up to her to fix the issue. Understandably indignant, the mama bear stormed into Greenbrier Elementary School and unleashed an emotional rant as students were lining up for class, demanding that her son’s bullies leave the boy alone.
After a passionate tirade, Rathburn left the campus without incident, cursing at her son’s teacher before walking out. However, instead of school officials offering to intervene and stop her son’s horrific abuse, the distressed mother was the one who ended up facing immediate punishment.
According to USA Today, Rathburn was arrested and charged with disturbing school before being booked into the Greenville County Detention Center. She was reportedly detained after a sheriff’s deputy reviewed the school’s surveillance footage, which showed the mother yelling and “pointing her finger at the kids and getting in their faces.”
The video had no audio, so the deputy said he couldn’t tell what the suspect was saying, but he said he saw her “lift her finger in a pointing manner and circle around as if making sure all the kids heard her and were listening.”
One teacher testified that Rathburn was yelling about “not knowing who was bullying her son but that she was going to find them and their moms.” Another teacher confirmed that he took her into a classroom, where she “cursed him repeatedly” before walking out.
Rathburn had repeatedly reported the abuse of her son to no avail. She has since kept a list of the alleged offenses, which includes name-calling, hitting, kicking, and even choking. She wrote that her son has been “hit with [a] computer, shoved, jerked off [the] slide from behind by his neck,” and that a “kid tried choking him,” which left him with “small scratches and red marks on his neck.”
Rathburn explained that the abuse is sometimes so severe that her son has come home with visible evidence of the physical assaults on his body. She says that one reason she’s so passionate about bullying is that she too was once a victim.
“I was becoming a statistic because nobody listened to me,” Rathburn said. “I can’t let that happen to my child. I don’t know when I should be concerned about these issues, but I feel like it’s now because in five years it’s too late.”
Rathburn was released on bail and explained that she deeply regretted “allowing emotions to control” her. She confessed that confronting the children at school wasn’t an appropriate way to go about handling her son’s abuse but also admits that she doesn’t know how else to resolve the issue.
“I am absolutely ashamed of myself for the actions of walking up into that school,” she said in an interview. “You know, I owe the parents, the children and the staff an apology for that. Absolutely, it was wrong. But honestly, I don’t know how I could have gotten my message across any other way.”
Rathburn has since been banned from the school indefinitely, which means that, aside from dropping off and picking up her children, she’s not allowed anywhere near the campus. As a former classroom helper, Rathburn explained that the consequences have been “devastating.”
“I can’t go eat lunch with my children,” she said. “I can’t watch them on field day. As class mom, that’s devastating.”
Rathburn says that the school has promised to resolve the issue but adds that a teacher once told her son to “ignore” his bullies and “be the bigger man and I think it will stop.” They had also separated her son on the playground to make him easier to watch, which undoubtedly also made him a pariah.
Rathburn doesn’t believe that her reaction will cause her son’s bullies to leave him alone. As such, she’s considering homeschooling her son. Sadly, this may be her best option for ensuring the safety of her son. What’s most disconcerting is that the school managed to immediately deal with Rathburn but can’t seem to put an end to bullying in their classrooms.