Mom speaks out after son's "assault" at school cafeteria

Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 6:29 PM CST
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A Quad City woman says her 12-year-old son has a concussion after he was punched and stepped on in his school cafeteria. It happened at Sudlow Intermediate in Davenport on Monday afternoon.

Jasmine Skaff says her son James has been bullied at his school repeatedly. She claims James told a teacher about the issue and it only made the situation worse, aggravating the other student.

On Monday afternoon, Jasmine said James decided he had enough and asked the bully to stop, which didn't work, and James pushed him against a wall. That only made things worse, Jasmine said: "the moment my son pushed him against the wall, the kid began to violently punch him in the face until he fell on the ground and then when he fell on the ground, he took his foot and he kicked him right in the face and then James just laid there. With blood all over his face and his clothes. His glasses are broken."

He was taken to the school nurse who called Skaff asking if she wanted an ambulance. Skaff said yes but wouldn't arrive in time, so the school principal rode with James to the hospital, where Jasmine saw what happened. "I will never forget that sinking feeling in my chest when I saw him for the first time in that bed. You just never think that something like that would happen to your child. That's when it really hit me, how traumatic and how severe it was. All I could do was just cry and hug him and tell him I'm sorry."

James has a concussion, minor cuts to the face, and contusions. All of this from an incident in a school lunchroom where Jasmine said there should have been three staff members... she says that wasn't the case, though, "the security guard was called to an incident in a different classroom. The principal was needed in the gym so she left and that left only one teacher and that's when the incident had happened."

Skaff thinks better staffing could have stopped this from happening. "We need more education for these kids on how to properly handle their emotions and their hormones and behaviors. While that will take time to implement, we need more staff to make sure that they can be there to help those kids from seriously injuring other students. There's always going to be conflict, but knowing there can be someone there to step in and protect the situation. Because had someone been able to step in, maybe the injuries wouldn't have been as traumatic."

James will be out of school for at least two days while he recovers from his concussion. Jasmine says she doesn't have any issues with the school itself, she just hopes this wouldn't have happened in the first place.

The school district says the other student won't be coming back to school until the police investigation is finished. James said he doesn't feel safe going back to Sudler Intermediate, and his mom is looking to transfer him to a different school.

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