by: Tom Jones Updated:
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - A mother said her learning disabled son took a large knife to school to defend himself against bullies.
Douglas County sheriff's deputies arrested that student, Talmaj Mitchell, 18, and charged him with possession of a weapon on school grounds.
After Mitchell was released he told Channel 2's Tom Jones why he brought the knife to class at New Manchester High School near Douglasville. He said he used it to fend off bullies.
"I was just trying to make a statement. I was trying to tell them just leave me alone and everything. I had no intention on using it," Mitchell said.
The ninth-grader said students would take his video games, his tennis shoes and make fun of his disability.
"They be calling me slow and retarded and everything and that's why I be telling them to leave me alone sometimes," Mitchell said.
A classmate saw the knife and told an adult.
"Oh no! He should not have been arrested," said Mitchell's mother, Michelle Little
Little said her son was defending himself. She said she has complained to the school about the abuse her son has received
"Yes I have. I have complained. I even called the police," Little said.
Douglas County sheriff's deputies act as School Resource Officers at the school and said they take bullying seriously.
"Bullying is something we want to address," Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jesse Hambrick said.
Hambrick said deputies found no evidence that Mitchell was bullied by anyone.
"It's something that's common when a kid is found with contraband to come up with a reason why they had it. We have not been able to validate that reason," Hambrick explained.
Mitchell wants a second chance.
"After this tough time I hope that probably over there they give me another chance to probably redeem myself,"
Mitchell said he never reported the bullying, but his mother says she told a counselor at New Manchester.
The school said federal privacy laws prevent it from discussing this incident, but the school's principal said if a parent reported her child had been bullied the school would immediately investigate and get to the bottom of the allegation.
Little said her son has been expelled for the rest of the year.