An Illinois student is recovering after a bully took things too far when the taunts became physical last week, knocking out Charlee Funes’s tooth and leaving her bruised and bloody.
Funes, by all accounts a sweet and well-adjusted girl, was being bullied by a classmate at Gardner Grade School in Gardner, Illinois, apparently since the FOURTH GRADE (these girls are now in seventh), but prior to the May 14 incident the threats had all been verbal. Not so during P.E., when her attacker decided to up the ante and slam Funes into the ground, face-first. Her facial injuries are extensive.
In response, the attacker’s mother insists the “little girl” was mouthing words to her and apparently deserved what she got.
Funes’s attacker (who seemingly had prior issues at other schools) was given 2 days’ suspension from school; administrators neglected to involve the police or even discuss the matter further with the victim’s family without an attorney present. Her family took to social media to decry the treatment they’ve thus far received.
Still sensing a P.R. disaster, the Gardner Community Consolidated School District 72 released a full statement to the community at large:
“I am writing to inform our community of an incident of student misconduct that occurred last Thursday during a physical education class that resulted in injuries to one of our students.
In response to the incident, the District immediately began an investigation. Throughout the investigation, the District worked collaboratively with law enforcement, and took immediate action in response to the student who committed the misconduct.
While the District is unable to share the details of the investigation and the actions taken to respond to the misconduct due to student confidentiality and privacy laws, the District takes all incidents of misconduct seriously and our student’s safety is always our first priority.“— Michael Merritt, Gardner Community Consolidated School District 72 Superintendent
The above statement was gleaned from news organizations who seemingly obtained it from families of children attending the school; it is virtually absent from their website, though it can still be viewed via Twitter. Speaking of social media: they have apparently deleted their facebook page amid the backlash from the Funes’s supporters.
The family has elected to start a GoFundMe to help raise money for Charlee’s legal and medical bills.
Gardner Grade School serves about 200 students in grades K-8 in Gardner, IL. Ninety-two percent of students are white, and the school outperforms the state average on standardized tests. About a third of the student body classifies as low-income.