DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — On a typical Friday afternoon, Caden Rudolph would normally be in P. E. class at school but instead, he had recess in his backyard.
“I’m constantly worried about whether or not my son is going to be safe at school,” said his mother, Deborah Tanner.
She said he’s being repeatedly bullied at school. Tanner was able to watch a school bus surveillance video of one incident a few weeks ago when she said her son was attacked.
“When you see another person’s fist flying into your child’s face," she said. "I started shaking."
In his own words, Caden describes the altercation
“He slammed my head, full face into the window and I pulled his arm and hit him in the face," he said about the school bus incident.
Tanner was furious her son was punished even though she said the video shows he was clearly not the aggressor.
And that wasn't his only encounter with a bully.
“I sent him to school on Monday in perfect condition and he came home with marks on his face and a bloody nose and they punished my son for disrupting the class,” Tanner said.
She shared pictures that she show the injuries from the physical incident.
11Alive reached out to the Douglas County Schools about the bus incident. In a statement the district says in part:
"Following the investigation, the district concluded the alleged incident was a mutual dispute and did not fall under the district's definition of bullying. Both students have been disciplined according to the Douglas County school system code of conduct," she said.
The mother said that was her final straw. For Caden, it’s been a build-up throughout the year.
“It’s been stressful, hurtful for me because having fists flying in my face hurts,” said the seventh-grader.
He said his mother has given him permission to defend himself but he says he doesn’t like to fight and doesn’t want to get in trouble.
“She always tells me she won’t be mad at me if I fight back so I use that as courage to help me,” Caden said.
The district outlines what it defines as bullying but it's not clear how they protect students they deem as victims. But in these cases, Tanner said her son has been disciplined equally with the bullies.
Tanner has withdrawn Caden from school.
“I will not send him back to that school because he is not safe.”
Families can find the Douglas County Schools code of conduct here.