From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
BERKELEY COUNTY, SC -
A mother is claiming her nine-year-old son was beaten up at St. Stephen Elementary School's fall fair.
Janet Smith said when her son got off of the bus back on November 8, his mouth was swollen shut. Smith claimed her son was doing nothing wrong when he was allegedly hit by a female classmate.
That punch, the mother said, caused her son's teeth to be jammed into his gum.
"He was walking around at the fair and a young lady used profanity and she punched him while her two friends turned their back and ignored it," Smith said.
Smith said after that incident, her son went into a jump castle where he was also punched by two other classmates. A friend noticed the boy was injured, so the mother said they both asked to go to the nurse, but a school employee refused.
"Someone tried to take him to the nurse, and another teacher said, 'No, you have to wait,'" Smith said.
After hearing her son's story, Smith said she called the school to speak to her son's teacher about the incident. She claimed an Assistant Principal answered the phone, saying they would look into the allegations.
Smith heard there was a security camera around the incident, but when she said the school claimed it provided no evidence.
"When I spoke to the school, they said they didn't see [the incident] on the camera," she said. "They didn't say that it didn't happen, but [the punch] could have been out of the range of the camera."
Smith and her son went to visit a dentist on Monday, November 11. Doctors there gave the Smith family a referral to have surgery completed to remove the teeth. In order to have the surgery, however, the mother said a CAT scan is required so doctors can get a better look at the location of the teeth.
She said the child's mouth is so swollen, he cannot open his mouth wide enough to fit the x-ray film. The family is on Medicaid and the mother said they can't afford the CAT scan.
While Berkeley County officials declined several requests for an interview, a spokesperson did release this statement:
"With school safety as our highest priority, Berkeley County School District fully investigates all reports of bullying as well as any situation in which administrators suspect bullying," Susan Haire, district spokesperson, said.
Under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, News 2 has requested the footage from the security cameras. The school district has 15 days to respond to that request.
Dr. Claudio Cerullo, a nationally bullying expert is also involved in this case. He is assisting the Smith family with getting answers from the school district.
Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.