SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A mother is fighting back against bullies. She claims the Springfield School District's "zero tolerance policy" didn't do enough to protect her daughter, who ended up in a doctor's office.
Whether it’s teasing, taunting, or fist fights, bullying is a daily threat for some kids. The verbal and physical confrontations can leave deep scars.
"A range of mental illnesses, it could go into being somewhat traumatized, depending on how intense that bullying is and for how long it goes on,” said Kara Davis, a counselor at Jarrett Middle School. “It can affect learning. It can affect how you function as an adult.”
Kennedy Davison, 8, has a room full of pictures and paintings. She loves art class and science, but says a boy has been bullying her at Sequiota Elementary School.
"At the cafeteria, in the classroom and outside on the playground,” she said.
"How does that make you feel?" a reporter asked.
She got hurt one day during physical education class.
"He was running past me and he pushed me down," said Kennedy.
She’s certain she didn’t trip by herself.
Kennedy’s mother says she tried to talk to the PE teacher, and even wrote a letter with her telephone number included, to try to find out exactly what happened to her daughter that day on the track.
"She's never contacted me to talk about the incident,” said Jennifer Johnson, Kennedy’s mother.
After Kennedy kept complaining about pain, they went to a doctor. X-rays showed no big breaks in her wrist but the second grader was treated for a fracture and wore a cast for a month.
Kennedy says the boy kept taunting her.
"She told me that he would tell her that he was glad that he broke her arm and he would do it again,” said Johnson.
Johnson wanted answers. But the Sequiota principal couldn’t tell her if the boy was being punished or, if he was, how.
“The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records, which include discipline information,” the Springfield School District said in a prepared statement
"Yes. I would say we have a zero tolerance,” said Rhonda Mammen, coordinator of Counseling Services for the district.
Mammen says every bullying report is investigated. Some end up being what she calls “typical child conflict.” Others are more serious.
"If it's a physical incident, and considered an assault, then our school police are involved, as well as SPD (Springfield Police Department). There are reports that are made to Juvenile (the county’s Juvenile Department),” Mammen said.