Castle bullying story not what it seems

Warrick County Schools confirmed that the viral story about a Castle High School male student who purposely threw milk on a special needs girl during a lunch hour wasn't as clear cut as the social media post about it seemed.

The story caused a storm amongst students and parents alike, catching the attention of other area media outlets.

“It’s unfortunate people didn’t wait until the incident could be thoroughly investigated,” said Warrick County Schools Superintendent Brad Schneider.

The school corp. was able to pull the surveillance video of the day of the alleged incident and discovered the story, which went viral after a female CHS student posted the lunch time legend on her social media, was smoke and mirrors.

“We pulled the video of the incident and it was not anything like what was reported on the social network site,” Schneider said. “The young lady who made the post wasn’t even in the cafeteria and admitted to Castle administrators this morning [Monday, May 13] she wasn’t even there.”

Schneider said the student who posted the story also expressed remorse for her actions.

“She has recanted her story and apologized to the young man she accused,” he said.

To be fair, Schneider said the boy did throw milk in the cafeteria when he shouldn’t have.

“He was tossing it to a friend to throw away,” he said. “Unfortunately, a young lady walked in while it hit her - it was not a big deal.”

Schneider said the story that was posted was blown out of proportion.

“She made it sound like they poured milk on her and sat there and laughed,” Schneider said. “The student should have not thrown the milk carton. He’s sorry he did it. He didn’t intend for it to hit the young lady at all.”

Schneider said this moment should be used as a lesson.

“This ended up being a whole lot to do about nothing,” he said. “You have to be very careful of what you post on social media.”

In fact, the post about the alleged bully ended up creating a storm of cruel online trolls who then started negatively posting about him.

“The young man was being heavily criticized for something that was not true and students were being nasty and negative towards him, but the student made the post and they believed [the story],” Schneider said. “What was posted and what happened, were two different things. Again, it just goes to show that words can be very harmful and if you are going to post things to social media, have a responsibility to say what you are posting is very accurate and factual — that was not the case in this manner.”

Schneider said if the alleged bully had done what was claimed, the situation would have been handled in a much different manner by the administration.

“[The situation] would have been dealt with severity because that’s not the behavior we are going to tolerate,” he said. “I can’t believe we would have kids who would act in that manner.”

Castle High School principal Doug Gresham did send a letter on Monday, May 13 out to students and parents to help diffuse the rumors around the alleged bullying incident.

“The Castle administration has sent out letters to all parents explaining the situation and assuring them that one, any bullying that is reported will be investigated and two, appropriate steps will be taken.”

That includes referencing the school corp.’s disciplinary code.

“From demerits up to suspension is the policy,” Schneider said.

The letter Gresham sent read: “We are reaching out to follow up with parents and students about the alleged bullying incident involving Castle HS students that has been reported on social media. After investigating the incident and viewing the security camera footage, Castle HS Administration found the information posted on social media to be completely inaccurate and false. We are disappointed that a few of our students posted information on social media that was not factual. The Castle HS Administration will continue to communicate with the students and parents [about] this incident to make sure they know the facts. Please know Castle HS will continue to be committed to safeguarding the physical and emotional wellbeing of all students.”

Schneider said hopefully students and parents can learn about the perils of social media from this situation.

“Social media can be a good thing, but it can also be a lot of bad when we don’t take responsibility for things we say and report and pass along hearsay or things that aren’t true,” Schneider said. “Then people are harmed by your words.”

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