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Teen says she was punished for trying to stop bullying of girl with mental disabilities

 

A Florida high school student who complained to officials about the bullying she witnessed on a school bus is now being labeled a bully herself.

Stormy Rich, 18, had been riding on a middle school bus because she had enough credits to start classes later in the day at Umatilla High School, the Daily Commercial reported, but she says she was shocked by how some of the middle school girls were treating a student with mental disabilities.

She said she complained to the bus driver, then to school officials, and when nothing changed, she tried to persuade the girls to cut it out.

"They would be mean to her, tell her she couldn't sit on certain spots on the bus," Rich told Fox 35 in Orlando. "They were giving her food that they put in her mouth. I actually had to tell her to spit it out because she didn't understand."

Now she said she has been told she can't ride the bus anymore because of how she dealt with the situation.

"When the school didn't do anything, I told the girls, if the school didn't do anything, I was going to do something," Rich told Fox 35 -- and that's what got her in trouble.

The school, however, appears to be standing behind its response. Fox 35 reports that a school spokesman said two wrongs don't make a right.

Rich said she had been following school policy, which calls on students to report any bullying to authorities, and now she is being punished.

"I can't comment about student discipline," Lake County Schools spokesman Christopher Patton told the Daily Commercial, but he cautioned, "you've got one side of the story. ... There are other parents that are involved in this."

As for the loss of bus privileges, it won't matter to Rich: She soon will graduate with a 3.67 GPA and plans to study nursing next year at Daytona State College, the newspaper reported.

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