A group of Valley middle school students used cell phone cameras to capture video of a seventh grader being attacked on a school bus.
The boy is OK, but his mother wants the bullying to stop.
When Tiffany Hunter started receiving an influx of text messages and phone calls asking whether her 12-year-old son was okay, she knew something bad must have happened during his bus ride home.
"He didn't say anything when he came home," Hunter said, but she could tell he was acting strange.
When she confronted him, she learned that two other boys who are brothers punched him repeatedly on the school bus during their ride home from Sunrise Middle School in the Paradise Valley Unified School District.
They were "basically on top of me trying to punch my face, but I had my arms up blocking," said Parker Brockman, Hunter's son.
Other kids on the bus captured the incident on camera.
"He was insulting me, cussing at me, saying ‘hit me,' Brockman said. "He was literally telling me to punch him the whole time. After awhile I swung a few punches," he said.
The video shows one boy punching Brockman several times.
"He tries to be a tough guy. He does get targeted to get picked on," said Hunter. "He doesn't back down," she said.
THE SCHOOL'S REACTION
According to Marty Macurak, a spokesperson for the Paradise Valley Unified School District, the two boys accused of punching Brockman were suspended from school and from the bus.
"The situation was handled appropriately and in a timely fashion by both the bus driver and the school administrator," she said.
Macurak said the bus driver pulled over the bus to stop the fight.
Macurak said twenty-two middle school and high school students within the PVUSD school district have been suspended this school year for fighting. "That is out of a total of 15, 436 students in our eight middle schools and 6 high schools," Macurak said.
According to the most current state data, 15,295 fights happened at public schools and charter schools statewide within the 2010-2011 school year.
A 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the state found 7 percent of high school students did not go to school at least once because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to or from school.
Nearly 28 percent of high school students surveyed reported having been in a physical fight "one or more times during the past twelve months."
"I just don't want to see this happening to somebody else," said Hunter.
Hunter said other parents told her the boys who bullied her son were known for bullying other kids as well.
"I have been the big advocate – if you know your child is being bullied at all, let the school know immediately," Hunter said.
"This never would've happened if they were aware of the fact that these boys have been picking on other people.
School officials say it is important for kids and parents who observe bullying to report it to the school.
"Talk to an adult, that's what we're here for," said Macurak.
Macurak said some students are afraid to report problems, so the school uses a website called www.anonymoustips.com . Paradise Valley Unified School District is one of 85 Arizona schools that uses the resource, according to the site's founder, Howard Baer.
When a child logs on to the website, said Baer, he or she is logging onto the site's server.
When the child submits a tip via email, he said, the tip is sent to the school from the website's server, so the only IP number that is captured is that of the website – not the child's.
Baer said approximately 900 schools across the country are also using the service.