Ringgold mom raising money to send her bullied son to private sc - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ringgold mom raising money to send her bullied son to private school

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RINGGOLD, GA (WRCB) - A Catoosa County mother says her son has been bullied to the point, to where she thinks public schools are no longer the best option. She says the final straw came with cyber-bullying. The mother says an Instagram account was created just to make fun of her son.

Keena Wells says this is not the first time her 13-year-old son has been bullied at school. She says he has been picked on both physically and verbally, with classmates often teasing him for his size. She says when she was told her son could not transfer schools, she started a funding website to send him to private school.

"They took the picture, then put a caption of a chicken bucket over his head and made it look like he was dreaming of chicken and said, 'I'm Jernard. I just eat chicken all day. I just love chicken.'"

The Instagram account with pictures of Keena Well's 13-year-old son Jernard has been making the rounds with one picture having more than 600 likes.

When Wells learned last Thursday her son was being picked on, online, she asked the school board he be transferred from Ringgold Middle to another school.

"I asked to go to Heritage. She just flat out told me 'no,'" says Wells.

Wells says that changed shortly before she sat down with Channel 3 Tuesday, for an interview, when she got a call from the board office.

"You want him to go to Heritage? Give me a moment and I'll call you back.' And in like 10 minutes he called me back and he said, 'You want him to go to Heritage? We can make that happen. When do you want him to start? And by the way, I was told that the news station contacted us. Are you going to the media?'"

A school system spokesperson maintains the school has been working non-stop since last week to find a solution. And Ringgold Middle Principal Mike Sholl says he felt the issue was resolved after a Monday meeting with Jernard and his parents.

"When we left that meeting, she was, in my mind, she was fine. He was going to stay here at Ringgold Middle and he was going to remain on the football team," says Sholl.

He says the school identified the student responsible for the Instagram account, confiscated their phone, and made them delete the account.

"I want every child safe. I want every child to feel good at school," says Sholl.

"My ultimate goal is to get him into private school," says Wells.

Wells still wants support through a 'Go Fund Me' website she created, to raise money to send her son to private school.

When asked if she is just trying to scam people into paying for her son's education, she answered, "No. I mean, the evidence of the things that have happened, it's there." She went on to say, "It was out of desperation. I felt like, you know what, I need help."

"There are a lot of issues that come to school now, that didn't that previously," says Karen Glenn, Hamilton County STARS (Students Taking a Right Stand) Director. 

Glenn says cyber bullying is a challenge for educators. But she urges parents to know what their kids are posting.

"I think parents want to know what their kids are doing. They should know what they're kids are doing," says Glenn.

"We did everything we could to keep him here, to keep him on the football team. He wanted to stay on the football team. And that's what we wanted for him," says Sholl.

"Combat it on the front end instead of being reactive," says Wells.

Wells has raised more than $3,500 so far. She also says she is meeting with a private school this week.

Catoosa County Schools reiterates it takes every case of bullying seriously and encourages students to come forward to school leaders if they know it is going on. 
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