The Greensville County Public Schools district in Emporia, Va., has launched an investigation into a now viral video that shows a first-grade student being bullied by other students on a school bus.
In the heartbreaking video, students are seen filming the 7-year-old Gabriel on their own phones as well as laughing and teasing him, even as he tries to hide his face. Eventually the little boy begins to cry.
“Even when he tries to hide his face, still got them pulling on him, moving his arms, moving his coat,” the boy’s mother, Clarice Conner, told WRIC-TV. “Just leave him alone.”
Watching the video brings the mother to tears.
“He don’t bother nobody,” she added. “Just let him go to school and come home. That’s all I want.”
Connor herself shared the video in hopes of showing parents the impact that their children’s behavior can have, as well as in an effort to stop the bullying.
“I will not let my kids fall victim to bullying,” Connor wrote in a caption to the video. “Let’s fix this shit right here at our own doorsteps.”
“We need to come together to fix this stuff because if we don’t, there’s going to be more stuff done like this,” she told WRIC. “It’s going to be kids that are going to do worse than this. And it’s not fair to anyone.”
However, Connor has also faced backlash in her attempts to protect her son because the video she posted on social media showed the faces of many of the kids involved. The video has been viewed nearly 40,000 times and shared thousands of times, ultimately catching the attention of the school district.
Greensville County Schools Superintendent Angel Wilson released a statement:
The safety and well-being of all Greensville County Public Schools students is our highest priority. Bullying of any kind is not tolerated in our schools or on our school buses. The behaviors demonstrated in this incident are disturbing, and are being addressed promptly according to the Student Code of Conduct and school division policy. We share the concerns of our community about this situation and will be exploring more ways to clearly communicate to our students and families how to prevent this kind of incident from occurring in the future.