PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – A Jinks Middle Schooler and her relatives were arrested last Friday after she reportedly started a physical confrontation in the cafeteria.
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office says the girl was in the office with her uncle and grandmother to speak to school administrators about an alleged cyber-bullying issue. The girl suddenly ran from the office to the cafeteria. Authorities say she began assaulting the girl she had been fighting with online.
“They had an altercation on social media, which led to them being mad at each other,” said BCSO Community Services Commander Captain Myron Guilford. “She wanted to come and attack the girl because she was mad at her because she said something about her.”
The situation quickly escalated. The girl’s relatives, who are non-English speaking, followed her to the cafeteria, despite the administrators’ efforts to stop them. Rather than intervening, authorities say her uncle assisted in the fight.
“He grabbed the victim, held her hands behind her back, and at that time, the other student continued, which was his niece, continued to attack the other young lady,” said Guilford.
The school resource deputy quickly responded to the situation and arrested the student who started the fight and her relatives. Bay Districts Schools released a statement about the incident saying:
“We alerted parents/guardians about the situation and immediately took steps to ensure nothing like this happens again. We understand this situation was very distressing for the students who witnessed it, and we are doing all we can to support them. It’s disheartening, disappointing, and very concerning that any adults would behave like this on any of our school campuses, and we will not tolerate safety violations. We are grateful to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and their deputies for their swift response, and we will continue to do all we can to secure our campuses and protect our students.”
The student who started the fight faces battery charges, her uncle faces battery, child abuse, and trespassing charges, and the grandmother faces trespassing charges as well.
BCSO encourages students to talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent or teacher, if they are experiencing cyberbullying or any other form of bullying.