LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - A Lauderhill student is sharing his story after, he said, his classmates are harassing and hitting him on a regular basis, and his mother said school officials have not done enough to help him.
7News cameras captures Terrence Smith as he read aloud from his hospital discharge papers, Friday.
His family said the teen, a student at Parkway Middle School, has gone to the emergency room three times in just two weeks.
“My chest just started getting real tight and tight, and I couldn’t breathe, like someone was choking me,” he said as he described symptoms of a panic attack he suffered.
Smith said his ailments are the result of severe bullying.
“It’s like I’m being held hostage at my own school, my bus,” he said.
The 13-year-old said it all started last year on the school bus, where classmates would not allow him to sit.
“I tried to sit there, and he pushes me off. I hit my mouth on the metal part of the seat, and my lip started bleeding,” he said.
Smith’s mother, Renecca Knight, said these are not isolated incidents.
“The whole entire time, he’s standing up to and from school on that bus, they’re throwing stuff at him: pencils, erasers,” she said.
Smith said he is being tormented by a group of about 10 Parkway Middle students. He said he’s gone to the principal nearly a dozen times.
“The principal tells me, ‘It’s OK. I will handle the situation. You don’t have to worry about this situation again,'” he said, “so as I’m walking back, one of the boys pushed me and said, ‘Oh, you think snitching is going to stop everything? You think it’s going to help?’ So he punches me in the face.”
Smith’s family showed 7News photos of marks and swelling on the teen’s extremities and ribs.
Smith said his classmates post photos of him on social media with hateful comments.
“He hid it from me, even the part about the internet and stuff,” said Knight as she fought back tears. “It’s my first time hearing it, so I guess that’s why I’m crying.”
Knight said she has spoken with the school principal on several occasions.
“I sat with the principal, I’d say five to six times,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking to see my son at school, knowing he’s feeling that way, and it’s like, once he leaves the house, Momma can’t even protect him.”
Smith said he’s ignored the effects of the bullying for months, but now it’s affecting him.
“In fifth grade, he graduated top of his class. He has so many awards,” said Knight. “As soon as he hit the sixth and the seventh grade at Parkway Middle, grades down, down, down.”
Now the concerned mother said she worries about the long-term effects.
“I just want it to stop, just stop picking on my baby, stop jumping on him,” she said. “Keep your hands off him.”
A spokesperson with Broward County Public Schools released a statement that reads, “School leadership is aware of a situation involving the student and is looking into the allegations. Any violations of the Code Book for Student Conduct will result in appropriate student disciplinary consequences. School leadership has been and will continue to be in communication with the families involved, as safety and security are always our highest priorities.”
Knight said she has had to have a conversation with her son about suicidal thoughts, indicating the bullying has to end.
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