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A Boy Bullied at Rymfire Elementary Turns to Self-Harm on a School Bus. He’s 5 Years Old.

| February 21, 2019

The incident developed on a school bus as it was delivering students in Palm Coast's R Section Tuesday afternoon. (© FlaglerLive)

The incident developed on a school bus as it was delivering students in Palm Coast’s R Section Tuesday afternoon. (© FlaglerLive)

Tuesday afternoon a Flagler County School bus dropping off children in Palm Coast’s R-Section had to pull over on Red Mill Drive when its driver, Lorraine Clift, called 911 about a child on the bus who was out of control.


Clift, who’s been driving a bus in the district since the fall of 2017, told a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy that the child appeared to be harming himself. He was “hitting himself in the head with a seat belt and appeared to tie his jacket sleeves around his neck until his face started to turn purple,” according to an incident report.

The boy is 5 years old, and 3 feet tall. He will be 6 in March.

Deputies had arrived at the scene along with paramedics, who tended to the child and cleared him medically. His 33-year-old father soon arrived as well, and as soon as he began speaking with his son, the boy’s “demeanor and attitude deescalated drastically,” the report states. The boy explained that “he is being bullied by an unknown group of other juveniles and was angered and acted out.”

A deputy at the scene told the boy’s parent that he would be informing the school resource deputy at Rymfire Elementary, the student’s school, of the incident and of the report of bullying. The child, according to the report, sees a counselor at school every week, and his father said he would take him to an “evaluator” right away.

Since the child was “under control, and not physically injured and in the care of his father, it was determined that [he] would be turned over to his father,” the report states.

Three Flagler County school students have been arrested in eight days in three different schools over making threats. In two of the three cases, the students cited bullying as causing them to make the alleged threats: on Tuesday, a 16-year-old girl at Matanzas High School was arrested for allegedly making a threat on Snapchat to shoot up the school, an image other students detected and reported to school officials. Last week a 13-year-old boy at Buddy Taylor Middle School known to have been the victim of bullying in the past was arrested after an outburst of alleged threats while he was playing a live Xbox game on the internet the previous weekend, with other students online. In every instance, the students making the threats have been charged with a felony. Because of confidentiality rules, it is impossible to get information about the students’ history or to document any history of bullying through the school district.

John Fanelli, the district’s coordinator of student support and behavior, could not be reached Thursday morning.

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29 Responses for “A Boy Bullied at Rymfire Elementary Turns to Self-Harm on a School Bus. He’s 5 Years Old.”

  1. FPC Granny says:

    My heart aches for this little boy!! We as a community need to find ways to stop the bullying. To further destroy a child’s life with a FELONY charge because they were bullied…the bullier is the winner and that is the reason bullies keep doing it!

  2. Anon says:

    What has flagler county become

  3. Ali says:

    Why don’t the teachers know who is bullying the kid? Don’t they pay attention?

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    I understand our teachers are busy but with all the reports on bullying are they not watching our kids?

    Why has bullying become such an epidemic that kids are resulting to drastic measures to escape it? You have our children most of the day and are supposed to educate them and protect them. Can you not spot a bully when you see it? If not then more training is in order.

  5. Percy's mother says:

    Are these bullying incidents being reported to the school authorities? (teachers, secretaries, vice-principals, senior principals).

    This story is not only shocking, but heartbreaking.

    From what I’ve read in previous stories such as this, on this website, the powers that be at the schools (teachers, administrators, secretaries, vice-principals, senior principals) seem to ignore the bullying issue and/or do NOTHING about it, and/or turn a blind eye to the bullying.

    What the hell are the school administrators DOING???

    These kids are suffering emotionally, mentally and psychologically, some of them going home to unstable home lives and having to deal with terrible home situations in addition to going into a hellish environment of bullying at school.

    When are the powers that be going to take control of the bullying situation in this community? Suppose this little boy had gone home and strangled himself? . . . with perhaps no one at home to see what was going on.

    I fault the school administrators for failure to take control of this issue.

  6. ASF says:

    When I was growing up, there were social workers on staff at every school to connect troubled youth and their families with critical services when necessary–they would even go out to home sometimes. I guess those days are long gone.

  7. Jillian88 says:

    Absolutely in no way is this any teachers fault. These bullies don’t bully kids in front of teachers. It is done on the sly and these kids are threatened that if they tell, they will be bullied more. I agree that is very unfair that the children Who are pushed by these bullies into making threats are the ones getting the Felonies. But on the other hand with all the dangerous children in school, how do you weed them out? It’s a very sad world for our children.

  8. palmcoaster says:

    Yes ASF now our taxes go to pay this highly compensated administrators and the assistant of the assistant of the assistant meanwhile they are all too busy with curriculum work, read tape and bureaucracy and no one pays attention to the students. They even instated that now a student that lives one mile from school has no busing but has to walk to school in this roads with no sidewalks or lights. Is that policy still on?

  9. J. B. says:

    This isn’t surprising in the least. My children and I moved to PC in October, and both (at that time one was in Rymfire, the other in Wadsworth) came home during their first week telling me about some of the God awful things their new classmates said to them.
    They’re both now in Wadsworth and it hasn’t stopped. When addressed with faculty and staff, it’s completely brushed off- that is, when the faculty and staff aren’t involved themselves.

  10. Passed off says:

    I’m tired of this type of news. Wake the FK up Palm Coast. Stop saying “Not my child”!! YOU are the same parents that drive 65mph through work zones, pass stopped busses and never use turn signals and think the world owes you something. It’s you who failed as a parent , it’s you who let society down by not teaching respect.

  11. Aimee says:

    As a parent of a teacher that worked at a Flagler county school, there is little to no support. 1 counselor for approximately 700 students, and a principal who would not support the teachers when a problem child is a bully and acts out and makes threats. The teachers need help and support. Not to be told by their principal to have a heart although it is the bullying child with behavioral problems. The teachers do what they can with over crowded classes and dealing with the ebd kids that should be in a class of their own to receive the extra help they need. Administration protected the bully and brushed everything under the rug so don’t blame the teachers blame the parents and administration running the horribly broken system.

  12. Concerned Parent says:

    You are 100% correct, the School Administrators, and those who manage them don’t want to take ownership of what is happening, they ignore it on a daily basis. Meanwhile many kids are bullied and left with no support system while at school. The Teachers are trying but I feel they get no support and are overwhelmed. There are many things the School Administrators can do to start curbing this behavior and change the bully culture in their schools. They can create safe places of inclusion for students to learn and grow, instead of ignoring the problem. Talk to the students every day, tell them to be kind to each other, to respect each other, say it every day over the school loud speaker, say it to them every single day! You’re Educators, help teach your students how to treat each other, you can do it and at the very least please try!

  13. Monica says:

    Oh that poor little boy. My heart breaks for him.

    My 10 year old daughter experienced physical and emotional bullying last year at Rymfire, for which I received very little help. This year is worse. There is a boy in her class who is known for punching and otherwise hurting kids in her class. He happens to be the son of a teacher in the school. My daughter has witnessed almost all of his attacks on her school friends, two of which happened to her best friend. When one of these incidents happened, she was asked to write a statement. Just recently, she was asked to rewrite that statement, because somehow all record of that incident had been lost.

    This boy has been staring at her for months, and she’s terrified she’s going to be his next victim, so I brought it up to her teachers and administration. In a half hour meeting, I was lied to, to my face, twice, told “I should be grading papers, not here” twice by one of the teachers, told my daughter had nothing to be scared about because the bully hadn’t done anything to hurt her yet, and told the only thing they could do would be to make sure she got to see the school counselors to help her get over being afraid. They couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything about the violent child.

    Since that meeting, any time the bully goes near my little girl, SHE gets in trouble. She even has an assigned seat away from the rest of her class at lunch now, so she can’t sit near him, because he decided to sit near her one afternoon, after she’d already sat down with her lunch. So she’s afraid of the bully child, and now the school itself is bullying her as well. Bully free zone my butt.

  14. Concerned Grandparent says:

    YES, the teachers know. YES, the principal knows. YES, the guidance dept knows. They don’t care, they protect the bullies. It’s the victim’s fault. They’ve lied to my grand-daughter’s mother to her face on several occasions. Two years in a row – different kids, mostly boys, beating up girls and still the teachers and principal allow this nonsense to continue – they are sick, amoral people who blame the victims. I am so angry I want to tear down that sign on the fence that says “no bullying” because that sign is a lie.

    One little monster is the protected child of a Rymfire school teacher and he just loves to beat up little girls. My grand daughter is convinced that she’s next. The school “lost” her written complaint. They sat her next to this animal in class. Then when her mother complained about it, they went & isolated HER from her classmates at lunch to separate them while they allow HIM to socialize and continue to terrorize the others. They try to make her feel like she’s misunderstanding his behaviour and not justified for feeling scared. They are assigning her a guidance counselor (they claim) so that they can try to drive these points home to her. Horse hockey!

    Let’s make this perfectly clear so there’s no misunderstanding/ Rymfire elementary teachers & principal, you are on notice. We enrolled my granddaughter in jukido academy because of non-stop bullying from the boys (and some girls too) at this school and because of the lack of protection from the lunatics running the asylum. She’s progressed to yellow belt and is working on the next level of self defense with a fervor. We work with her every single day to remember her skills & confidence in her training that she gets from the academy. It’s how she gets the courage to go to school & face those monsters ever. single. day. This is an Honor roll student, “Terrific Kid” – all around sweet heart & she’s scared to death to go to this building where they condone and encourage bullying & violence while blaming the victim. Anything to the contrary is mere lip service only.

    Just so we’re clear, Rymfire people & Palm Coast School officials: If ANYONE so much as touches a single hair on her head, she’s been instructed to take that person down and in my heart of hearts, I hope she hurts them. Thankfully the academy teaches benevolence and mercy because I don’t have an ounce of compassion for any of them. Sad that we have to educate HER that she can’t trust anyone at the school to protect her, that she must do it herself. If they dare to suspend her in punishment – trust me – we’ll party it up and celebrate her success at defending herself.

    Parents of these bullying monsters, you are on notice, too. You’re at fault for not teaching your children manners, kindness and how to get along with other kids. You’ve neglected or mistreated your children so they act out in violence towards other kids. SHAME on you! I have other choice words for you, but I will be nice here. If your kid comes home with a broken arm or other injury because some kid has to defend themselves against your child, you can look in the mirror and at Rymfire Elementary for allowing it. This crap starts at HOME! BE the parent and teach your child RESPECT others and keep his/her hands to themselves!

    Other Rymfire parents, you need to get together and hold school officials accountable for what they’re allowing to be done to your (our) kids. You need to get together and face them collectively. Until you do that, they aren’t going to care because they’ll continue with the lie: “no one has ever complained about this before.”

    Rise up, parents & stop this nonsense. Do it now while you’re angry about this 5 year old boy. That could be your child because Rymfire isn’t going to do a blessed thing until you force the issue as a group. Coordinate on the neighborhood watch groups on Facebook and DO something & get these “officials” out of these schools so the kids can learn something besides how to lie & how to hurt each other. It’s time to stop this madness.

  15. Momof3 says:

    Parents please: TEACH YOUR KIDS TO NOT BULLY! Spend everyday explaining how bad it is to bully others! This issue can prevented at home. I have 3 kids and I spend 80% of my time teaching my kids how to treat others…whether they want to listen or not I LECTURE. Love not hate!
    This poor child and other kids don’t deserve to live a sad bullied life!

  16. Monica Johnson says:

    Oh that poor little boy. My heart breaks for him.

    My 10 year old daughter experienced physical and emotional bullying last year at Rymfire, for which I received very little help. This year is worse. There is a boy in her class who is known for punching and otherwise hurting kids in her class. He happens to be the son of a teacher in the school. My daughter has witnessed almost all of his attacks on her school friends, two of which happened to her best friend. When one of these incidents happened, she was asked to write a statement. Just recently, she was asked to rewrite that statement, because somehow all record of that incident had been lost.

    This boy has been staring at her for months, and she’s terrified she’s going to be his next victim, so I brought it up to her teachers and administration. In a half hour meeting, I was lied to, to my face, twice, told “I should be grading papers, not here” twice by one of the teachers, told my daughter had nothing to be scared about because the bully hadn’t done anything to hurt her yet, and told the only thing they could do would be to make sure she got to see the school counselors to help her get over being afraid. They couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything about the violent child.

    Since that meeting, any time the bully goes near my little girl, SHE gets in trouble. She even has an assigned seat away from the rest of her class at lunch now, so she can’t sit near him, because he decided to sit near her one afternoon, after she’d already sat down with her lunch. So she’s afraid of the bully child, and now the school itself is bullying her as well. Bully free zone my butt.

  17. Nicole E. says:

    This situation is very sad and it starts with the parents. Maybe this hadn’t been reported to the school yet. Sadly, most bullying is done on the DL and is hard to catch or prove. Kids usually make sly comments when no one is around. Most instances are not considered substantiated bullying because there is no imbalance of power. I have seen kids kicked out of school, suspended, or moved to different classes because of bullying so you can’t really say nothing is done. What more do you think the school can do? Unfortunately you can’t expel a kid because they called someone a name. I used to work in Flagler Schools and can assure you that every report is investigated.

  18. tim says:

    @ anon,, Flagler county? How about what’s happened in America?

  19. Bc. says:

    Parents of bulled kids if the school board is not doing anything to stop this band together and sue the school board

  20. Bobby says:

    It’s sad that this county took an incident like this to start paying attention to bullying. Myself and many people that I know have been bullied all throughout the Flagler county school system from mental bullying and even being taken to the doctors for disclocated bones (yet this person wasn’t charged with anything). Flagler county really needs to step up with this or it will get worse then it has been the last 10 years. Maybe the county officials can stop wasting so much money on pointless things or take a pay cut and worry more about the future of the country that’s in our school systems.

  21. Concerned Parent says:

    They cannot do anything! What is worse is that they know who all the bad kids are! Even when they bring weapons to school and are “suspended” they just move them around to another school, where parents are not aware of who their kids are going to school with. Agreed these bully’s need help, but obviously their parents don’t care or can’t do anything, they need to be REMOVED from our schools, and placed somewhere where they cannot hurt others…less than 2 months into 2019 And our schools are constantly in the paper and not for positive news! Wake up folks and demand results, tired of good kids having to pay the price (which is an expansive lifelong one) because we have treat these monsters with gloves.. I agree with concerned grandparent above, my child will fight back!

  22. Just me says:

    It is not teachers or admin. It starts at home. Teach your kids to be kind. Children learn what they live. Teachers are not babysitters. Many parents are happy to send their kids off to school because they do not want to deal with them. Communicate with your kids! You will be amazed at what they tell you about their day. Get them off the electronics and make them play outside. The fresh air and running around is good for them

  23. Weldon Ryan says:

    This is amazing! We as a PCers, a nation can cry about bullying in schools by kids and juveniles but fail to see the link between corporate, government, politicians and personal behavior with the behavior of our offspring! People get your heads examined because something in there ain’t right! You want to stop bullying check yourselves! If you elect bullies because of racism and political affiliation and not what is the common good then you are a bully too! I hope the best for this child but get a grip people!

  24. ASF says:

    My advice to those who have reported that a violent and/or threatening child is being allowed to stalk and harass other students because his parent is a teacher at the school? Call a news station and see if you can get an investigative reporter interested in the story. Nothing like a little unwanted publicity to get the uncaring bureacracy to suddenly start caring.

  25. Gad enough says:

    Concern Grandparent,
    You nailed it on the head, in today’s world it is a shame that these students especially this young have to deal with this type of situation. USA that bully learn it from some parental figure and then the trend continues. My child was bullied in the past and a weapon was involved and the school system did nothing, they said the matter was handled but 3 days later that child was back in school. Bullies are insecure waste of life and they come in all ages but you know how to stop a bully if their parents don’t handle it? The same thing that concern grandparent did, teach your child to fight back, bloody a bullies nose and he stops. They pick on the smaller weaker individual or so they think but teach your children to stand up for themselves, report it and ensure your children that they can talk to you about anything:

  26. FPC Granny says:

    It amazes me each day here in PC…I can hear the naysayers right now saying if you don’t like it here then move. Well I surely would but on my “fixed” income that makes for a non-issue. I have been in PC for 15 years now and my grandchildren have grown up here and have only gone to Flagler Country schools. I can first hand tell you that everybody in the school system starting with the Superintendent right on down to the kitchen staff knows what just who the bullies are. But not one will step up to help a child that is being bullied.All see it every day and they know who the bullies are! The reason they don’t address the bullier is that they are afraid of retribution so they sweep it under the carpet. That is why they have no problem suspending and placing felony charges on the child that has been bullied. But let me remind you we have “1” principal “5” ASSISTANT principals, teachers, staff,l guidance counselors, coaches ect. and to top that we have armed “safety officers” in the high school (all schools) So to say nobody sees it!! They must be blind!! @Concerned Grandparent, you are so very right!! Everybody says to parents should teach kids to be kind and not bulling. But hello the kids spend more time at school then they do at home!! Parents do as much as they can today with all of life’s pressures and single moms, one parent households and yes many of us are grandparents bringing up kids today struggling in “our” what should be golden years!! (I won’t even address why the grandparents are bringing up kids today. They are for so many reasons and not because all the departed parent(s) are junkies and thugs This school system has gone down for since Superintendent Bill Delbrugge. Some of the school board members have been in the Flagler school system for over 25 years and some well over 15 years on the school board and still nothing gets done!! I hope the school system wakes up soon before we have more tragic results!!

  27. hawkeye says:

    concerned grandparent ,you hit the nail right on the head,having your granddaughter learn jukido is the way to go,I am guessing this is a combination of judo and akido,either way good idea. In this age of the wimp we live in now ,its good to hear about someone who has a pair of hind legs. I was bullied as a youngster as well ,started weight training ,boxing , wrestling, and martial arts.By the time I was 16 I was a varsity wrestler and no one bullied me anymore. The only thing bullies understand is pain, most of them are really pu$$ies anyway and after they take a beating or two they learn how to behave the right way. .Because we live in the age of the wimp now, a lot of people will disagree with this philosophy , tough shit, this is what works on bullies.If you dont want to be bullied ,kick the bullies ass! I am not saying go around picking fights , however if one comes at you, give them the beat down that they deserve.

  28. rhon says:

    @concernedcitizen Can’t a parent recognize a bully? Teachers are to teach educational standards along with CONTINUING the ethical, moral, social behaviors that parents are responsible for.

  29. ASF says:

    If a bully is being protected by the system becuase his/her parent happens to work for the system involved, then complaints should go beyond the system that is protecting that particular teacher and their bullying child. There are higher authorities in the school system that this can be reported and there is power and safety in numbers. The Parents of the child victims allegedly targeted by this particular bully should form a group and report their concerns as one to the school administrators who oversee the operations of Flagler County Schools.

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