SYLVANIA, OH (WTOL) - The Sylvania Police Department has launched an investigation involving several students accused of bullying a teen with mental disabilities. But that victims's mom isn't the only mom to come forward with similar claims. Thursday, the mothers of two separate victims shared their stories with WTOL 11.
According to a police report, the students go to McCord Road Junior High and are under investigation for a violation of the Safe Schools Act.
The alleged bullying incident happened on Feb. 18 at a girls' basketball game at the school. Police are now interviewing a large group of students who were there at the time.
"I think what hurts me more than anything is they did it in front of 30 of his peers and that nobody felt the need to go and tell somebody." said Joni Meyer-Crothers, the victim's mother.
Police say the mother of the 14-year-old victim says her son has mental disabilities, which could impact whether or not charges are filed, as well as the seriousness of the charges.
"The boys had rubbed the push pop in the urinal and had Isaiah lick it," said Meyer-Crothers. "First of all, how degrading is that to think that your kid went through that. And how degrading is that for him to have to call the pediatrician to get a ton of testing to make sure he doesn't pick up any diseases."
Isaiah told WTOL this is just the latest incident of bullying done to him by people he thought were his friends at Sylvania schools. He says he's been called the N-word and has been forced to play cruel games.
Meyer-Crothers says the bullying started in the second grade. All along Isaiah says he was just trying to fit in. Which is why he says he didn't tell his parents about the incident right away.
"I felt like if I would have told them or Miss Ogren, they wouldn't have been my friends anymore," said Isaiah.
Meyer-Crothers says she does want to make it clear that the school did called her immediately after the two girls, who weren't in the crowd of students, reported what happened.
Both hope coming forward with the serious allegations will lead to change and a more serious response toward any bulling in the district.
"It was never fully listening to what was going on and I think this is the first time that I think maybe because of the severity that the school is like 'maybe what they've been saying all along is true' or maybe they finally get it too," said
"I'm hoping this bullying stops throughout the school system and we can all be friends and it can go away and everybody can stick up for each other," said Isaiah.
Another Mother Speaks Out
But Meyer-Crothers isn't the only mother stepping forward. Thursday WTOL 11 spoke to another mother claiming her Sylvania Schools child was relentlessly bullied as well.
And it doesn't end there. This mother, who asked not to be identified, claims her son's arm was broken months after their first bullying complaints went unanswered. She filed a police report in Sylvania Thursday afternoon.
"He was called by a student the n-word three times. Comments being made to my boys because they are biracial. They were once called bad chocolate. On the bus they were told that all black males were L-D, which is learning disabled, because black men can't talk," she said.
That was a year ago, but it didn't end with comments. She says in November the bullying turned physical when a student, a teammate, broke her son's arm at wrestling practice on purpose.
"My stomach just dropped because I knew the kid that had done this was the same kid. I just had that gut mother feeling," she said. "I didn't go to the police initially because I didn't want the repercussions for my child. I went all the way up to the assistant superintendent. They think he feels really bad and that was going to be the extent of it."
She says that wasn't acceptable so she pressed on.
"They further looked into it and that's when they gave the consequence that the student could no longer wrestle," she said. "When I saw this incident of this other child and that it was also at the same school, I knew because I hadn't gotten the accountability, I feel, from the school for this student. I felt that it was essential that this kind of thing quits happening based on ethnicity, based on physical disabilities. Because I think in the eighth grade class there is a true situation there."
What School Leaders Have To Say
According to the State of Ohio, the Safe Schools Act prohibits bullying in public schools.
The Sylvania City School District has yet to elaborate on the alleged incident. But school leaders have said this:
"We did an investigation. The students involved are suspended," said Nancy Crandell, a spokesperson for the district.
"We're going to do our best to learn from this and implement other strategies so that it doesn't continue," said Scott Nelson, Sylvania Schools Superintendent. "We've had a lot of interaction with the family and we are going to continue to do that so that we can make sure that our kids don't have to deal with that, that they can have someone to talk to."
"My heart is broken in this situation, for this child and what he had to endure. As a parent, as a school board member, as a community member, I am devastated for this child and this shouldn't happen. This shouldn't happen," said Julie Hoffman, Sylvania School Board President.
She says, as far as other incidents go, very few have made it to her.
"The policy goes, you start with the school administrator and then you move up to the superintendent or one of his designees and then to the board. So maybe three times, I'm not even sure it's been three times in six years," said Hoffman.
Meyer-Crothers said the district seems to be handling the situation properly by suspending the accused boys and keeping in contact with her daily.
According to Meyer-Crothers, Sylvania police will be filing assault charges and a safe schools violation on the students.
Police have only said they were interested in talking to everyone involved and they are close to wrapping up the investigation.