NH1 News Investigates Brutal Bullying? Mom says autistic daughter beaten, bullied at Epping Elementary School
EPPING – The mother of an 8-year-old claims her daughter is a victim of bullying both at school and on the school bus.
At the same time, she said school officials refuse to take action.
Lyndsay Phaneuf claims administrators at Epping Elementary School know her daughter is being bullied, but are turning a blind eye to it.
One time she said, another student threw her daughter, Shae-Lynn, to the ground and then repeatedly kicked her.
In the end, she claims, Shae-Lynn wound up with a broken vertebrae.
That’s just one of several incidents, the mother said, that has both her and her daughter living in fear.
Shae-Lynn said she's tired of allegedly being bullied and at the same time not fitting in.
“They say I'm different, but I'm not,” she said.
Shae-Lynn is developmentally delayed and has autism.
“I just want them to be nice to me,” she said about her classmates.
Her mother said she does all she can but still feels guilty sending her daughter to school.
She claims that in addition to the brutal beating, Shae-Lynn has been physically assaulted by kids at least three times.
“It's pretty heart-breaking that I can't be in the school to stop it,” she said. "It's almost like walking on eggshells.”
When asked if she if fears for her daughter’s safety, she was quick to say, “Yes.”
We exchanged emails with the Epping School District Superintendent Barbara D. Munsey but in the end, she wouldn’t specifically talk about Shae-Lynn even though her mother gave her permission to do so.
In an email, the superintendent sent said:
"They treasure the privacy of all our children, and as a result will not engage in such conversation. ... Our primary responsibility is to keep all our children safe. ... This includes. ... addressing bullying, investigating all incidents and taking appropriate action when warranted."
Lyndsay disagreed though.
“I feel like there's a lot of negligence on the school's part,” she said.
Even though the school has a stringent bullying policy, Lyndsay wants them to be more pro-active.
“I feel like there's much more I could do, but I don't know what the next step is," she said.
And that leaves Shae-Lynn asking those very same questions.
“What if somebody bullied you?” Shae-Lynn asked. “Would you like it?”
Adding, “I've gotten bullied, but how do you solve it?”
It's a question that may not be so black and white at school but at home Lyndsay said it sure is.
“I love you,” said Shae-Lynn to her mom as she and her mom kiss.
Lyndsay says, for her and Shae-Lynn, it's a catch-22 situation.
Sometimes she feels like Shae-Lynn would be better off home-schooled but then, she said, she wouldn't be with kids her age.