School says bullied student must return to class

School says bullied student must return to class (Image 1)

The parents of a bullied Gallatin student say they are prepared for a fight in court after their lawyer received an email from the school district saying the boy must return to class by the end of the week.

Bryson Woods, 13, was first bullied in the locker room at Rucker-Stewart Middle School in October.

The teen moved to Joseph E. Shafer Middle School where his parents said he was bullied again, by a relative of the boy from the first school.

Mike and Kim Woods have kept their son home for the past eight school days.

“We don't feel it is safe for him to go back and he doesn't feel safe going back,” Mike Woods told Nashville's News 2 Wednesday.

The Woods plan to sue Summer County schools.

Their attorney, Roland Mumford, received an email from the schools' attorney Wednesday which said Bryson must be back in class Friday or the family must go to juvenile court.

“We have requested specifically a safety plan from the school. The only response we have received is that he can sit in the front row or sit near a teacher's aide which I find reprehensible,” said Mumford.

Mumford says the district must come up with a safety plan for Bryson that includes moving him to a different classroom.

The school district released a statement Wednesday that said, “We have indicated our willingness to meet with the Woods family and discuss how we can reach a solution as soon as possible. Our attorney also advised Mr. Mumford that Bryson's absences were approaching a truancy level and every school system in Tennessee must comply with the law. Our ultimate goal is to reach a solution that allows Bryson to resume his education at Shafer Middle School as soon as possible.”

Under state law, a child with five or more unexcused absences per semester is truant and must be reported to juvenile court.

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