School aide suspended over bullying-related tweet

Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 19:05:03-05

GRANDVILLE, Mich. -- The parents of an 11-year-old boy say they're fighting to keep a personal protection order in place against their son's alleged bully. They say the alleged attacker's aunt is fighting to have the PPO terminated. A playground attendant is also in hot water for a tweet that appears to encourage what took place between the two.

Chris Noel and Alicia Haverkate said their son was attacked by another student while playing football at recess on October 17th. Their son, Boston Noel-Haverkate, is a 6th grader at Century Park Learning Center in Grandville.

Noel explained, “What then ended up happening was the kid assaulted my son, kicked him in the face multiple times, in the temple.”

Haverkate said, “He’s traumatized because he knows that type of blow could have killed him, and he may not have woken up.”

"We took [Boston] out of school. We brought him to his pediatrician. He was diagnosed with a severe concussion," she explained.

Haverkate said her son had bruising, darkened vision, and missed more than two weeks of school.

“[Boston] told us the kid snapped and just went after him," she said.

The parents showed FOX 17 letters written by other students with similar accounts of what happened that day. However, Boston’s parents said the playground attendant denied to the district seeing anything.

“They suspended the child for three days, and he was allowed to come back to school," Noel said.

Boston's parents say that’s not enough.

Noel said, “[The alleged bully] should be expelled, for one. He’s been a constant problem at that school where he’s hit multiple kids on multiple occasions, as well as verbal abuse.”

Haverkate said, “With the student, he needs help. He doesn’t have a very good home life.”

So the family said they asked for the other child to be moved to another classroom. They said the school refused, so the family filed a personal protection order against the alleged bully.

Haverkate said, “The judge granted it without a hearing.”

They said the other boy has been out of school since their son returned. Then Monday, a tweet surfaced that appears to come from that playground attendant. It’s dated the same day as the alleged attack and reads, ‘Just broke up a fight at recess even though I really wanted to see who was going to win.’

“I was furious," Haverkate said.

She added, “He wanted to see who won the fight, and the fact that he could have stopped my son from being hurt to me is heartbreaking."

"It’s angering because the school is allowing people like that to take care of our kids, and we’re supposed to trust the school, " Haverkate said.

Noel said, “He shouldn’t be working there.”

“It’s sad really. It really boils down to... it’s hard to trust your kids to be at a school that puts them at risk like this," Noel said.

District superintendent Roger Bearup declined to go on camera but said, "We do take safety very seriously. We handled things swiftly and appropriately. Today is the first time the district has heard of the tweet that was made. The employee has been suspended pending an investigation."

With regard to the PPO, the alleged bully and his aunt filed a request to have it terminated, according to court records. A hearing is scheduled Wednesday to determine that. Boston's parents said they're fighting to keep the order in place.

Boston's family also filed a police report. FOX 17 is told that information has been passed along to the county prosecutor, who will decide on possible charges.