Sahuarita parent says school not responsive enough to bullying report

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Bullying in schools has been thrust to the forefront of community consciousness recently as a video of a bullying incident at a primary school in Australia has gone viral, making its way across the Internet to households throughout the world and onto national news segments.

In the video it appears a boy, Casey Heynes, is taunted and punched several times before he finally 'snaps,' fighting back and potentially injuring his attacker who eventually limps out of view.

The other boy in the video was not seriously hurt and the video has made Casey a hero for what people perceive as a victim standing up to a bully.

A parent from one Southern Arizona school says she understands why Casey did what he did, because her son is also a victim of bullying.

And Michelle Bell says she is fed up with what her child has to put up with.

Michelle says her 10-year-old son has come home with handfulls of hair ripped out of his head, scratches down his face, and arms bloodied from being pushed to the ground.  And, she says, the bullying is ongoing because the school is unwilling to step in.

"I've tried to work with the parents on the situation, the teachers, I've worked with the assistant principal, to no avail with any of them," said Bell.

Michelle has many letters of complaints and concerns she says she sent to school leaders after Anza trail officials, including Sahuarita superintendent Manuel Valenzuela, failed to listen to her.

"I don't believe that any of our schools have a wide spread problem with bullying per se," said Superintendent Valenzuela.

Contrary to Valenzuela's statement, Michelle believes Sahuarita does have a bullying problem and she believes the solutions the staff has come up with for her situation are a joke.

"What I get from the school is, 'Well, they should stay away from each other.'  That's great in theory, but the violence has been happening after the school, they should stay away from each other," said Bell.

Dr. Kris Bosworth, a professor at the College of Education inside the University of Arizona, says that low self esteem leads to kids not being able to resolve conflict in a positive way.

"When we look at psychological profiles of bullies and subjects of bullying they both have terribly low self esteem," said Dr. Bosworth.  "They're not able to work out problems or status issues through conversation or other communications means."

Dr. Bosworth says adults have to step in and stop the harassment.

"As a parent you don't know what to do. You think you should be able to go to the principal and everything will be taken care of.  And it's not, which is even more heart breaking that you have to fight.  That you have to have this village of voices for someone to say, 'Hey, maybe we should do something,'" said Bell.

Michelle Bell plans to meet with Sahuarita's Assistant Superintendent to discuss this issue for the first time.

She also has talked to her son about fighting back, and has enrolled him in self-defense classes.