COBB COUNTY, Ga. — After a sophomore at Harrison High School was criminally charged for fending off a pair of aggressive bullies, several parents have accused Cobb County Schools of ignoring signs of bullying and brushing them off with the phrase, "boys will be boys."
Jorge Santa said he defended himself against bullies who yelled racial slurs, stole his food and sprayed him with silly string. He fought back, and was charged with felony assault, felony battery and three charges of criminal trespass.
While the Cobb County District Attorney later dropped those charges, Santa’s attorney said the story doesn’t end there.
“Many of the student witnesses interviewed by the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office stated that the student who bullied and assaulted Jorge was a well-known bully throughout the school,” Mitch Skandalakis said.
Carol Thompson, another Cobb parent, said her sons were also bullied by that same student. She said the boy reached out to her youngest son online, through a popular video game.
“He went on to say, now he’s 18 and he has a shotgun, and he likes to shoot the heads off animals … kind of a red flag for me,” Thompson said.
She said she contacted Cobb County Police but they brushed off her concerns. When they referred her to the school, Thompson said the answer she got was, “boys will be boys.”
Cobb County Police have not returned 11Alive’s requests for comment.
Cobb County Schools issued a statement stating the “district takes every report of bullying seriously, and we strictly adhere to state and district guidelines concerning the issues.”
However, many disagree, including Rob Madayag, another Cobb County parent that believes the district is putting student lives at risk.
“These are kids’ lives. Kids (have committed) suicide for bullying,” Madayag said. “To me, a life is more important than anything, so I would rank that as a higher issue.”
Attorneys allege that one reason Cobb County Schools isn’t taking bullying incidents seriously is because disciplinary action could affect school district funding. 11Alive spoke to the Georgia Department of Education, and officials said that’s not the case – and Georgia schools are funded based on enrollment counts, not average daily attendance.