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‘This shouldn’t be right:’ Family speaks out after middle schooler is bullied, beat up on school bus

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A bus ride home from Richards Middle School in Gwinnett County ended with punches thrown, leaving a child bruised and beaten.

“It’s really frustrating. You can’t do anything at the moment,” said Perla Henriquez, the victim’s sister.

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The incident was caught on camera by another person on the bus last Tuesday. No one on camera seemed to try and intervene.

“They were just recording, laughing,” Henriquez said.

Gwinnett County Public Schools released the following statement: “Fighting and bullying will not be tolerated in Gwinnett County Public Schools. It is against the district’s student conduct policy, and violators will face appropriate disciplinary consequences. Because of privacy laws, we cannot share the details of individual disciplinary cases involving students. However, we can share that appropriate disciplinary consequences were issued in this case, and the principal and administrators at Richards Middle School remain committed to addressing bullying and doing all they can to ensure each and every student is safe.”

The child’s family says that they are happy discipline is being dolled out. However, they say the fight on the bus is just the latest example of bullying their loved one has faced.

“This shouldn’t be right. We’ve been fighting over this for so long, so long. So many times,” Henriquez said.

The family says the bullying has gone on for around a year, impacting the middle schooler’s mental well-being.

“Sometimes, she doesn’t feel comfortable with herself. Sometimes she will sit in her room and cry at night,” Henriquez said.

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Experts say that one incident of bullying can lead to others. Especially since young children can’t take social cues from classmates.

“It’s a domino effect,” Dr. Angela Shannon said.

She recommends that parents be aware of what their child is going through, and to know if kids might be struggling with a more serious condition because of repeated bullying.

“We don’t want it to morph into something even harder to deal with,” Dr. Shannon said.

Experts recommend talking with your child and making sure they know they are not alone and that bullying is not OK.

They also say to work with the school, teachers, counselors principals, and school district to address bullying problems.

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