BUHL — A Buhl mother says her 9-year-old son was upset after being confronted about a bullying incident and left school the morning of Dec. 8, but no one noticed he was gone.
The boy’s mother and the Buhl School District Superintendent have different accounts of what happened.
Elizabeth McDonald said her son, a third-grader at Popplewell Elementary School, was confronted by the school principal. “Kids were bullying him. He was upset and scared. He left the elementary school.”
Her son walked to a local chiropractic office and called his father, McDonald said. He called the school, asked where his son was and was told he was in class.
“My husband said ‘no, actually, he’s not,’” McDonald said. “They didn’t even know for 30 minutes he was gone.”
The child got into trouble and was sent back to class, but chose to leave the schoolgrounds, Superintendent Ron Anthony said, and made it about two blocks away. “He was in a trouble for a major discipline issue and didn’t want to be at school anymore.”
The child was safe and nobody was harmed, Anthony said.
No report was filed with the Buhl Police Department and it wasn’t a law enforcement matter, Buhl Police Cpl. Benny Torres said.
A police officer was at the elementary school during a meeting between the parents and school officials in order to keep the peace, he said.
McDonald said there’s an issue with bullying at the school and a friend’s child has also been affected.
She said a couple of children gave her son a bloody nose Tuesday. “I didn’t think too much of it. Kids will be kids. I let it go.”
But then, it happened again Thursday, she said. “He got in trouble today.” McDonald said she didn’t hear anything from the school about it.
She said she and her husband went to the school asking to speak with the principal, who allegedly started yelling at them.
They were told they couldn’t leave because the school district superintendent was on the way, McDonald said, but they left anyway and went to the police station.
They contacted a police officer on duty, she said, who told them the superintendent and school principal wanted them to come back to discuss the issue.
During the meeting, “the superintendent tries to turn the entire story around and tries to make it my son’s fault,” McDonald said.
She said she and her husband told the superintendent their son will no longer attend the Buhl School District.