ANDERSON — A 12-year-old boy in Madison County, who had been the victim of relentless bullying, killed himself last week. And now parents are demanding changes at Anderson Community Schools.
A staff outreach meeting at Erskine Elementary was scheduled for Tuesday night, and then canceled. Some parents had hoped to use the meeting as an opportunity to talk about bullying and how the school district can stop it after a sixth grader took his own life last week.
The community is at a loss after 12-year-old, Carson Hankins, took his life Feb. 18. His mother says he had been bullied for a long time.
"Let down by not only the school system but just in general, the community in general," Aaron Higgins, a concerned parent said.
Some parents say the school district isn't taking bullying seriously. They want to see Anderson Community Schools take action to stop this kind of tragedy from happening again.
"My question to the board is what's in place and what they're going to do better," an Anderson parent said.
A woman says her granddaughter, who went to school with Carson, came forward as a victim of bullying after his death.
"She went through three or four months of this before she finally came home ill after Carson and said I need help," the woman said.
The girl endures daily attacks from classmates. Such as: "Kill yourself. We'd be happy to hear the next day. If you don't know how, razor blades work real good, just go home and start slicing away."
Many left anxious after losing a chance to raise concerns.
RTV6 asked the School Board President, Patrick Hill, why cancel the outreach meeting?
"We were getting enough indication that it was going to be a large crowd that a small school like this wasn't going to be able to accommodate it," Hill said.
Parents are calling it an opportunity missed. They're demanding increased prevention measures along with better ways to anonymously report bullying.
Hill says the word bullying often gets overused.
"Bullying has become kind of a catch phrase that everybody uses for any incident," Hill said. "It's being bullied whether it just be an interpersonal conflicts or just something that might have happened."
But the entire community agrees that what happened to Carson Hankins can not happen again.
Hill says they're planning to have a community forum on bullying next Wednesday, March 6, at Anderson High School.