At News 2 we are continuing the battle against bullying with a story out of Dorchester County. Second grader Shania Freeman has been bullied for the past two months and her mom says the district isn’t taking the issue seriously.
Shania’s mother, Orelia Freeman, says, “It’s hurtful that me, as her mom, have to sit here and see this. It’s not the same, it’s put a toll on her.”
Freeman says it started at school and continued on the school bus, kids calling her daughter Shania names. At first, she hoped the situation would resolve itself.
She says, “At first I didn’t get into it because I thought they could handle the issue because they are second graders. However, the incident continued to happen when the older sisters got involved.”
Freeman says then things got physical, and Shania was hit in the face by kids on the school bus.
She says, “After that Shania did not want to go to school, she came home she was having anxiety about going to school and every time I mentioned it she was crying, she was shaking.”
At that point, Orelia took Shania to the pediatrician, who prescribed anxiety medication, and the doctor found out more troubling information.
Freeman says, “She admitted that she wanted to commit suicide, she wanted to kill herself because she was being bullied and she wished it would be over, she admitted she wished something bad would happen to the others. At that point she was transferred to the ER and then to the psychiatric hospital for kids at MUSC. She stayed there for six days.”
Freeman says she talked to the other children’s parents, the principal and school district along the way, and while they made some efforts to help, it wasn’t enough.
She says, “I feel like they didn’t take it as serious. There was different things they said they were going to do and they never stuck to it. They told me she was going to get on the bus first and she wasn’t going to have no contact with the kids, Shania said that happened maybe three days then after that it was getting on the bus with the rest of them. I called the school board hoping to get a better response but it was pointless.”
Freeman says she is planning to move her family to a different school district to solve the problem. News 2 reached out to Dorchester District 2 for comment and they say they do have anti-bullying programs in place. News 2 also asked what kind of punishments the other kids received, but was told they couldn’t discuss it for privacy reasons, even though we never asked them to identify the other children.
Orelia Freeman has hired an attorney who says he is working with the family as an advocate for Shania. News 2 asked if he plans to pursue any criminal charges with these children and the attorney said not at this time. The family hopes this issue can be resolved within the school without involving law enforcement.