Ellettsville mom pulls daughter out of school due to bullying

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Tormented, ignored and afraid. That's how an Ellettsville mother described her daughter's school year.

This is a story about bullying that will have parents asking, "what would I do?" The mother we spoke to decided to take action, and Eyewitness News went to the school to get answers.

Heather Collins' daughter doesn't live at home anymore. She says bullying at school is to blame.

"She just couldn't stand to be there. The kids were so mean to her," said Collins.

Collins removed Riley last week from Edgewood Junior High and sent her to live with her father in another district. She says for more than a year, her daughter was called names and threatened at school and on social media. She claims the school largely ignored the allegations.

"At one point, the principal threatened to kick my daughter off of the cheer team if she continued to report these cases. In her words they were not severe enough and no further cases would be investigated," said Collins.

Then, Heather Collins says, her daughter witnessed violence in the hallway. Another 13-year-old was beaten up and sent to the hospital.

"The little girl was on the ground and wasn't moving at one point and they just kept kicking her and hitting her," said Collins.

"I think it's just common. We see the same thing in other schools," said Melissa Pogue, Edgewood Junior High School principal.

Edgewood's principal says they've had six bullying incidents this year and that students were suspended after the most recent attack. She says administrators do respond to reports, but may not share that with parents.

"Because we are held to confidentiality laws that sometimes that hinder us for parents to think we haven't done anything because we don't report back to them," said Pogue.

Now the school is working on new ways to train teachers and students on bullying. Much of that is in response to parent complaints.

Heather Collins wants to see change.

"This is real violence. They're being targeted every day on a daily basis," said Collins.

The school will host a meeting about bullying for parents at 6:30 Wednesday night at Edgewood Junior High School. It was already scheduled prior to the fight that happened earlier this month.

School leaders plan to outline their definition of bullying, go over current resources and introduce new programs aimed at keeping students safe. One of the new initiatives is starting this week - a group aimed at girls who feel their victimized by bullies. School leaders also will welcome ideas from parents on how best to reduce bullying at school.