Mother wants answers after son is bullied and punched

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Jeremiah Herrera, right and Frances Thomas, left
Credit: WINK News

A Southwest Florida mother is upset and is looking for answers after her 10-year-old son was punched several times at school.

These came after WINK News introduced you to the young boy, Jeremiah Herrera, on Tuesday. He spoke about his struggle withĀ trichotillomania, which involves sudden urges to pull out body hair. That disorder has led to bullying at school.

The School District of Lee County won’t get into specifics about what will happen, but that it is investigating and doing its best to keep the students apart. But for Jeremiah’s mom, that’s simply not enough. She wants her son’s bully thrown out of school for good.

On Wednesday, Jeremiah Herrera was on top of the world. He’s conquered his fear and spoke pretty bravely about his hair-pulling disorder. On Tuesday night, he spoke to WINK News about his disorder and his struggles with bullying.

“I got called a celebrity,” Herrera said. But one of Jeremiah’s classmates at Sunshine Elementary School wasn’t a fan of his newfound celebrity status. One of his bullies saw the story, got angry and then got violent.

“He grabbed my neck and punched me until I was literally on my knees,” Jeremiah said. “It hurt a lot. I was crying after.”

Since the attack happened on the playground, school cameras were able to capture it. But, Jeremiah’s mom Frances Thomas said the school waited until the school day was over to let her know what happened.

By that point, she was able to see the video for herself. “I finally got him to a point where he is accepting his disorder. He’s able to talk about his disorder. He’s able to bring awareness to it as well as to bullying and then he gets bullied for it. What do I say to him?” Thomas said.

Jeremiah stayed home from school for the past two days because he’s afraid he’ll be attacked again. “I’m still kind of nervous,” Herrera said.

Thomas said The School District of Lee County did temporarily suspend the student but he’ll be back in class next week. The district is supposed to escort the student to class and to lunch, even to the bathroom.

Thomas says she wants the student expelled. “My son goes to school for an education. He should not have to worry about looking over his shoulder. That’s not OK and I just need people to understand that this is serious,” she said.

SDLC says that expulsion is not one of the consequences for bullying.

Thomas has said that she called the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and plans to press charges against the child for the attack.

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