KILLEEN, Texas — Hope Smith and Breanna White say students in Killeen ISD are bullying their 8-year-old autistic son, Donovan.
“He just kept coming home and kept repeating the same thing — that they would not leave him alone," Smith said. "They’d been bothering him in the restroom. It even came to one point where they smashed his hands in the restroom stall."
Smith said it has been going on since the beginning of the school year — and it got worse on Friday.
“He came home and told us one of the students pinned him down from the back of his arms," Smith said. "Another student got on top of them and stripped him down to his ankles."
White said no one helped their son, and when they reached out to the assistant principal, she dismissed it as horseplay.
“All we can do at that point is comfort him," White said. "You are not going to go to school you are going to stay home. If there is something you need from school you can ask for it.”
Killeen Councilwoman Mellisa Brown held a press conference with parents Wednesday to share their experiences and urge KISD officials to act.
“Well, there is a credit that they moved him from the immediate vicinity those children are still accessible," Brown said. "He has to see those attackers."
Brown also held an emergency town hall meeting to rally the community and find ways to prevent bullying.
“That’s not okay," Brown said. "We can’t expect the schools to do everything, so we need to be willing to step in where they’re not able to."
Brown also said her daughter was bullied off-campus two weeks ago when a student choked her from behind.
Taina Maya with KISD said the district continues to investigate both incidents.
“We take that very seriously," May said. "They have a list of consequences that are laid out in the student code of conduct. But we are going to take action as swiftly as possible."
Maya said there has been an uptick in reported bullying incidents this year and that the district is going through every complaint thoroughly.
Brown said she is working with community partners to create a community art club for the youth.
Additionally, she plans to hold another town hall meeting in January to define more ways to put a stop to bullying in schools.
To report a KISD bullying incident anonymously online, go to kisdissafe.com.