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Mom says school fight caught on camera points to bigger bullying issue

<i>KETV</i><br/>Kristina Congdon
Kristina Congdon

By Sarah Fili

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    COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KETV) — A Council Bluffs mother said her daughter was knocked unconscious at school and she claims it’s not the first time the high school freshman was bullied.

She wants action from the school, hoping to protect her daughter.

Kristina Congdon said the same group of girls has been bullying her daughter since middle school.

They thought the transition to high school this year would put an end to it, but she said now it’s worse than ever.

Cellphone video inside Thomas Jefferson High School shows a student run up behind another student, jump on top of her, then start swinging.

Kristina Congdon said that’s her 14-year-old daughter Kiki on the ground.

“It literally made me sick. Literally,” Kristina Congdon said.

Congdon said the girl responsible is part of a group who has been bullying Kiki for years.

“I don’t even know where to start, first incident was probably sixth grade,” Congdon said.

Congdon said she was already at the school meeting with the principal discussing another bullying case. She said she got a call that school bathrooms had been tagged with vulgar graffiti about Kiki.

“When I showed up at the school I found out it wasn’t just one bathroom it was almost every bathroom,” she said.

Amid that meeting, the fight broke out, Congdon said.

“Could hear her screaming and crying from the lunchroom all the way to the front of the building,” Congdon said.

Congdon said her daughter is on a safety plan and has an escort.

She said this fight is the final straw.

“I kept yelling ‘I told you I told you I told you,'” Congdon said.

Congdon said just this year, Kiki has had two weeks of district excused absences because of bullying.

“The punishments aren’t enough. I have a right to know my child can go to school and be safe,” Congden said.

Council Bluffs Community Schools said: “School principals have been working closely with the student and her family. As always, we carefully and completely investigate reports of bullying, administer appropriate discipline to those involved, and implement safety plans to help ensure students feel safe at school. We will continue to problem-solve with the family to determine the best path forward for our student.”

Congdon said the district offered to let Kiki transfer or learn virtually, but she doesn’t feel her daughter should have to leave.

Kiki doesn’t want to go either.

“I don’t want to transfer but I kind of think I should, I think it would be better for me. And I think I need a new start and not with the same people who keep bullying me. I personally think she should transfer and not me. But staying there isn’t going to help me mentally either and all my friends who are at that school they understand that me moving would probably be better for me,” Kiki Congdon said.

Kiki said one administrator has really helped her this year and helped her develop that safety plan.

“She helped a lot and she helped with my anxiety a lot and I really appreciate her,” Kiki Congdon said.

Kristina is pressing charges against the student involved. Congdon adds that she was distraught after the fight and was arrested for disorderly conduct at the school.

She hopes these bullies get the message that their behavior isn’t OK, and the district steps up its response.

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