If someone punches back once after being poked at repeatedly for months and months without consequence, who should get in trouble? Allison Arnall Davis recently went viral after her son Drew received out-of-school suspension for beating up another boy.
On Facebook, Allison explains that she's not mad at Drew for doing what he did because the boy Drew beat up has been tormenting him for months. Her son finally fought back against the bully who has been torturing and threatening him while the school has sat back and done nothing. Allison's post has prompted an impassioned discussion about bullying, school responsibility, and whether violence is ever warranted.
Allison's Facebook begins, "Five days of OSS for beating up the kid that has been tormenting and bullying him since middle school. I know as a parent I'm supposed to be upset with him for resorting to violence or getting suspended, but I'm not. Not even a little bit.
"For years the school has failed Drew," she continues. "When this kid has constantly threatened to beat Drew up along with several of his friends, the school did nothing. When this kid followed Drew down the hall threatening him and making fun of him AND it was all captured on video, the school did nothing. When other kids told teachers and administrators that this kid was threatening Drew, the school did nothing. When this kid took to social media, voicemails, and testing threats, the school did nothing. When this kid threatened Drew over and over in every class they have together. The school did nothing."
The school repeatedly failed to take this kid's behavior seriously. From Allison's post, it seems like many people tried to make the school aware of this kid's unacceptable bullying and they turned a blind eye. She explains that, all through middle school, the bully and "his minions" made Drew frightened of even walking down the hallway. But eventually, he stopped reporting this kid to adults because they would never take him seriously.
"I sent the school a lengthy email at the beginning of the year begging them to do something because Drew refused to talk to adults at school about it because he knew it would do him no good," Allison wrote. "Drew had four classes with this kid and he would not leave Drew alone. Their solution and response was to have him and bully sign a no contact contract." But clearly, that didn't work.
Allison wrote, "When this kid threatened Drew (while on the bus) and then moved on to making fun of his Dad and then threatening Jackson, his 11-year-old brother, Drew decided that he would quit relying on the school and the adults who are suppose to protect him and HE would do something. Three punches and his bully screamed like a baby, his minion friends shut up, and this morning the bully wouldn’t even look at him. Problem solved."
While it might seem like Allison is celebrating Drew's bully's demise a little too excitedly, it's clear that her whole family was at their wits' end when it came to this bully. Bullying can have catastrophic effects on kids' lives, and school's really do need to take responsibility and protect all their students.
Allison's post exploded on Facebook because it's a new take on such a pertinent issue for parents everywhere. It garnered 225,000 reactions, 132,000 shares, and hundreds of comments that have contributed many different opinions to the conversation. "I don't agree with violence," one commenter wrote, "but when no one helps you you gotta do what you gotta do to stop a bully... Shame on the school system for not doing something."
The vast majority of comments were totally supportive of Drew standing up for himself. Many shared similar stories of their children standing up to bullies and then being the ones to actually get punished.
While it wasn't ideal that Drew beat up another kid, hopefully this incident will result in conversations between Allison and the school that will lead to them actually taking action against this bully and others. School should be a safe space for all, and while it's unfortunate that bullies exist, schools need to recognize the seriousness of these situations and protect their students.