The nearly four-minute video posted to Facebook appears to show several students filming the young boy with their cell phones, laughing and making comments about his shoes. The students then make comments on how the boy begins to cry.
For most of the video, 7-year-old Gabriel, a first-grader, attempts to hide his face in his jacket and leans up against the seat in front of him.
“Even when he tries to hide his face, still got them pulling on him, moving his arms, moving his coat,” the boy’s heartbroken mother, Clarice Conner, said. “Just leave him alone.”
At several points in the video, the boy swats at the cell phones in an attempt to stop the recording. Near the end of the video, one of the students can be heard telling the boy “we’re just playing.”
Gabriel’s mother has seen the video many times, but reliving what her son went through last Thursday still brings her to tears.
“He don’t bother nobody,” she said. “Just let him go to school and come home. That’s all I want.”
Conner faced some backlash for choosing to post the video on social media, thus identifying many of the children involved.
Along with the video, she also posted a plea for the bullying to stop and for parents to “help children understand that bullying is not OK.”
“I will not let my kids fall victim to bullying,” Conner wrote. “Let’s fix this s**t right here at our own doorsteps.”
Conners told 8News she chose to post the video because she wanted parents to see their children’s ugly behavior.
“We need to come together to fix this stuff, because if we don’t, there’s going to be more stuff done like this,” she said. “It’s going to be kids that are going to do worse than this. And it’s not fair to anyone. Not anyone.”
The video has been viewed nearly 40,000 times and been shared thousands of times, enough to grab the attention of the school district.
Greensville County Public School Superintendent Angel Wilson addressed the incident in a statement on Monday that reads, “The safety and well-being of all Greensville County Public Schools students is our highest priority. Bullying of any kind is not tolerated in our schools or on our school buses. The behaviors demonstrated in this incident are disturbing, and are being addressed promptly according to the Student Code of Conduct and school division policy. We share the concerns of our community about this situation and will be exploring more ways to clearly communicate to our students and families how to prevent this kind of incident from occurring in the future.”