Mother calls school bus fight caught on camera bullying

A fight breaks out on a Haywood County school bus, leading to the suspension of the two Tuscola High School students involved. The mother of one of those students is upset her son was suspended and calls the altercation the result of bullying. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. -- A fight breaks out on a Haywood County school bus, leading to the suspension of the two students involved.

The altercation was captured on video by another student. Cheryl Hillis said her son, J.C., was attacked, and as a result, fought back.

She said he was suspended for two days and was the target of bullying because he's new to Tuscola High School.

“Other parents should know that if you teach your kid at home not to fight at school, and somebody attacks them, if they fight back, they're going to get in trouble too,” she said.

Both students faced discipline as a result of the altercation.

“Certainly one started it,” Associate Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte said.

For legal reasons the school district is not commenting on the punishment.

“Their level of discipline was a little different because of mitigating and aggravating factors and their level of involvement,” Nolte said.

He said the altercation didn't last long. “It appeared as if the boys had resolved the matter at the end. They shook hands and they hugged,” he said.

“He had to shrug it off and laugh. And then he gave him a save face for everybody else,” Hillis said.

Hillis told News 13 she's proud of her son and understands a point.

“I understand the zero tolerance. But you have a right to like defend yourself without getting punished,” she said.

She said J.C. doesn't deserve a black mark on his record with plans for college.

“Sometimes we'll write a letter to the college and tell them, this is the only incident that we're aware of with the child,” Nolte said. “And it was very minor discipline and should not impact the student's enrollment.”

In incidents like this, school leaders said they follow their code of conduct, which applies to all students whether they've been with the District for years or just weeks.

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