Mom: Teacher placed bullying victim in closet

Documents raise questions over effectiveness of anti-bullying policies

By Louis Bolden - Investigative Reporter, Sean Lavin - Producer

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A Central Florida mother said bullying was so bad, a teacher put her daughter in a classroom closet to keep her away from bullies – and even the principal admitted she couldn’t protect her children.

“She said to me and my husband that they could not guarantee their safety anymore, and that we could go ahead and decide to relocate them,” Shanell Milam said.

Milam said she had to move her entire family to escape the constant bullying her daughters faced.

Now, Milam still sees fights from Wekiva High School posted regularly on social media and is speaking out because she said the anti-bullying policies at Orange County Public Schools just don’t work.

“I don’t want another parent to go through what I went through,” Milam said.

Milam told News 6 her daughters didn’t stop getting victimized even though she went to the school and documented the problems.

For example, in September, Milam said her daughters and their bullies signed a “no contact” contract provided by the school, but it didn’t stop the problems.

“I was bullied and people kept on texting me on social media, saying they were gonna jump me on this period and this day,” said Milam’s daughter, Chyna Sigaran.

On the morning of the threatened attack in early October, Milam said she walked into Wekiva High School to report it to the school safety officer.

“He said everything should be fine because you have a no-contact order already in place,” Milam said. “But they never addressed (the) situation with the young lady and the attack happened exactly where I said it would happen.”

The attack resulted in a trip to the emergency room for Milam’s daughter, according to medical records.

“It was so bad, whatever she got hit with, she had a contusion,” Milam said. “She had to go to (the) emergency room, and have a CAT scan of her brain. … So she got (hit) pretty hard with something. The teacher told me it was a chair.”

Myths About Bullying Tipsheet from StopBullying.gov


Milam was outraged because she said the school didn’t act to prevent it even though she warned them.

“I told them she's going to get attacked,” Milam said. “She still got attacked after we wrote a statement, and the safety coordinator said he never spoke with the other student to prevent it.”

Milam showed News 6 a copy of the referral she said the bully was given after the attack, and it confirms the student “violated the no contact agreement” with her daughter.

Milam believes the principal retaliated against her for speaking out against the bullying. After going to the school on multiple occasions to complain about the bullies, Milam said she banned from the property, and the paperwork didn’t contain a reason.

Milam provided News 6 video confirming Wekiva Principal Michele Erickson signed a trespass warning and had law enforcement threaten her with arrest if she violated it.

Orange County Public Schools declined to be interviewed about any of Milam’s concerns, citing its obligation to protect students’ education records.

Milam thinks the school district should be more transparent about the bullying problem. Her advice for parents is to document everything – and don’t be afraid to change schools. Doing so paid off for her daughters.

“I got straight As,” Sigaran said. “I love the school I’m at right now. It’s just better.”

 

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