By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR — The pain of a Truman High School junior seemed evident in a self-posted video that went viral last week, in which she claimed to have been targeted by bullies and that school officials ignored her pleas for help.
District administrators, however, said the student hadn’t raised her concerns prior to the video’s Monday posting on social media, and that the student had, in the past, refused assistance when offered.
The girl claimed to have been repeatedly harassed at school about her appearance — although she did not specify names of the alleged bullies — and in her tear-filled video said that a school administrator had threatened to suspend her when she took her lunch away from the cafeteria.
Taylor Schools Assistant Supt. Teresa Winnie said a counselor at Truman was made aware of the video on Tuesday and immediately brought the student to the office.
“They offered immediate assistance, inquired about who was involved, gave support and made parent contact,” Winnie said.
The student had agreed to remove the video, which was taken offline but was re-posted later that day. The video was subsequently made available through local media and the website of a television news agency.
Winnie said in a statement that several months ago the district had put intervention policies in place, and that at no time since had the student reported any bullying, as was claimed in the video.
“Furthermore,” Winnie said, “the student refused help from counselors, teachers and social workers on different occasions when it was offered, and could not provide the school with any specific names of students bothering her.”
Administrators will continue to investigate the claims made in the video, and Winnie said a meeting has been scheduled with the student and a parent to provide further assistance.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)