A 12-year-old Culler Middle School student could land in juvenile court for a bullying incident after school Monday that was recorded on video and widely shared on social media.
The video shows a group chasing a 12-year-old girl into Vine Street before another girl pulls her hair and yanks her to the ground.
Jade Wilson, the bullied student's older sister, said whoever shot the video posted it on social media. Wilson then shared it on her Facebook page and expressed outrage at the school, which she said has not dealt properly with the ongoing bullying of her sister. Wilson’s post had been shared more than 1,700 times as of Wednesday afternoon.
“My little sister is in NO way mean to others,” her Facebook post said. “She’s incredibly smart, nice, etc. No child should ever go through this. They shouldn’t hate getting up and going to school every day.”
Wilson, who now lives in Georgia, said her sister started sixth grade at Culler this fall after moving from Norfolk, and the bullying by a group of girls has been ongoing.
“It’s just continuous bullying,” she said.
The recorded incident happened at about 3:30 p.m. Monday near the middle school at 5201 Vine St., according to police.
Wilson said other kids knew something was going to happen after school.
On the video, one girl can be heard saying, “Come on, baby; come on, everybody,” followed by another girl who says, ”Shut up, why are you making it so obvious?”
Lincoln police referred the girl responsible for the apparent bullying, whom the Journal Star is not naming because of her age, to the Lancaster County Attorney's Office on suspicion of third-degree assault. She also was suspended from school, said Lincoln Police Officer Angela Sands.
The two girls had previously been friends, according to police.
Wilson said in an interview that the girl who targeted her sister began bullying her at the beginning of the year, then pretended like she would be her friend before things got worse.
Much of the bullying has been verbal, until Monday, Wilson said.
Lincoln Public Schools officials said they can’t comment on the incident because of federal privacy rules, but sent a message to Culler parents after several of them contacted school and district offices with concerns.
The message said administrators are aware of the video and are working with both families involved.
LPS Director of Student Services Russ Uhing said the district deals with situations when it becomes aware of them, even if some of the behavior is happening outside of school.
“Each situation is a little unique,” he said. “We look at what supports need to be put in place for the target and restrictions in place for the bullying behavior. If it’s bullying, it can be a pretty complex thing.”
Officials can respond with a wide range of restrictions or disciplinary actions, from making sure that those involved don’t have classes together, to suspension, expulsion or reassigning a student to a new school.
Administrators also try to work with the targets of bullying, encouraging them to talk with adults, helping them connect with other children or activities, and helping them address the bullying behavior.
Sometimes the plans schools put in place don’t work, Uhing said, and parents need to tell administrators so they can change them.
The district also focuses on prevention by creating a positive school culture and behavior expectations, providing adequate supervision, and building strong relationships with parents and students, he said.
But Wilson said the response to her sister's situation hasn't been adequate. Her mom’s been to the school on numerous occasions, was told a meeting with the student and her parents wasn't necessary and that she was overreacting.
She said the girl involved was suspended for two days, which isn't enough, and that her family has applied to transfer her sister to a new school.
“It’s just really sad.”