Blount County mom starts anti-bullying petition

MARYVILLE (WATE) – A Blount County mom is calling for change at her son’s middle school, saying bullying is a problem that’s gotten out of control. She’s even started an online petition hoping school leaders at Heritage Middle School take a tougher approach.

Kelly Hill said she’s already received more than 100 signatures on her petition calling for the removal of Heritage Middle School’s principal over how he handled bullying situation involving her son, who is in sixth grade at the school. She says she’s heard from several other parents who have had similar issues with the school system.

“Part of me is relieved because it’s not just my child and then part of me is enraged because it is so many children,” said Hill.

Along with having her son’s principal resign, Hill is calling for changes in the school system. She’s calling on every school to have an administration that’s compassionate, active, and create an anti-bullying campaign.

More online: Read the petition

“He’s met with people calling him names, his binder has been stolen, ripped up, his backpack was ripped. He’s been pushed off the bus, on the bus. Two weeks ago he was held down at the bus stop, on school grounds, and beat up by another student,” said Hill.

Hill says while her son’s bully may have been disciplined, her many unanswered questions are inexcusable. The Blount County School System said they are investigating that incident, but noted they couldn’t reveal details about the incident because of their school privacy policy.

“You cannot imagine the guilt and the angst that a parent feels sending their child to school to be beat up,” said Hill. “This is a big picture problem and it needs to be addressed,” she said.

No matter where this petition goes, Hill feels that it has given parents a voice.

“It’s putting it down on paper, for the record, for the Blount County School System that we’re done. We want this to change. We want action and it needs to happen soon,” Hill added.

She says even though parents can show so much love at home, there’s still hurt that lingers for kids at the end of the day.

“We are parents. This is our community. We are watching,” said Hill.

WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to Blount County Board of Education member Debbie Sudhoff, Heritage Middle School falls under her district, but she simply directed our questions back to the school system’s Communication Director.

Blount County Schools issued the following statement on the matter:

Steve Moser has served the families of Blount County Schools with honor and integrity for nearly 40 years. During this time he has been assigned to numerous teaching and leadership positions, including Blount County Director of Schools. As the current principal at Heritage Middle School, he is charged with managing the daily educational needs of more than 850 students. Given that statistic, the probability is highly unlikely that everyone will agree with his decisions, appreciate his leadership style, or value the challenges that he is faced with on a daily basis.

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