WAFF Investigates: West Limestone bullying - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

WAFF Investigates: West Limestone bullying


Normally when you hear the phrase "bullying in school", you think of one student bullying another.

But recently a viewer contacted us, claiming that a Limestone County teacher has been bullying her daughter because of her race.

Bailee Garrison said, "The only difference between me and other people is I have a different skin color."

The 15-year old is bi-racial. She has an African American father, a Caucasian mother.

Not a big deal to her.

But she and her mother, Misty Loggins, claim it has been a big deal during her freshman year at West Limestone High School.

In fact, they say on the very first day of school, coach Lee Frances called Bailee "Brownie."

"I told him 'Did you just call me a Brownie?' He's like 'Oh yeah. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that,'" Bailee recalled.

Misty said the incident offended the girl badly. She said she went to see Principal Charlotte Craig the very next day.  

"I told her what happened and she laughed in my face and said 'that's not him.'" Misty said.

She said Coach Frances apologized. But according to Bailee and her mom, the name-calling continued.  

"He says 'I've got to make a nickname for you.' He said 'It's Brownie. Oh, scratch that. Your momma gets mad when I call you Brownie.'" Bailee said.

Misty and Bailee say it's a racial slur that's very hurtful, and they said they're confident Coach Frances knew it hurt Bailee's feelings.

Bailee said he called her that name at least five more times. Her mom said it was more like once a week.  

That claim was confirmed by another parent whose daughter also goes to the school. She said her daughter told her the name calling definitely continued.

We obtained copies of some letters from a few other students backing up those claims.

"He knows what he's doing. He knows not to call me that," Bailee said.

Bailee and her mom said once Coach Frances called her that name, other students picked up on it and started calling her that as well.

We attempted to contact Coach Frances, but was told he didn't want to accept our phone call.

We did, however, speak by phone with Limestone County School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Sisk. He didn't want to go on camera, but said his office conducted an investigation at West Limestone, questioning students and staff.

He said the evidence was "inconclusive" and they "found no merit to the claims."

Dr. Sisk did say the investigation revealed Coach Frances did call Bailee "Brownie" twice, and that Frances apologized both times.

He said in regards to the other times, it was a "miscommunication." Dr. Sisk said Frances was calling Bailee by the last name of another student in another one of his classes, whose last name sounds like "Brownie".  

Dr. Sisk said he offered to allow Bailee to move to another class with a different teacher.

But Bailee refused, feeling she shouldn't be the one being moved - and making matters worse, said the students all over the school were calling her that name.

In fact, she said a student actually held a brownie to her face and said "This is what you are."

Bailee said, "They think since the teacher says it, they can say it too. So I guess it's ok to call me Brownie."

"He shouldn't be allowed to be a teacher, my opinion, because bullying is bullying," said Misty, adding, "I want her out of that school as soon as possible."

And that's what's happened.

Bailee's mom said that because of all of this, with nothing being done by school leaders, she had to take action herself.

After the Thanksgiving break, the family moved to a different part of the county. Bailee has enrolled at Tanner High School, where she is once again enjoying being a student.  

Bailee's mom said she still wants justice for her daughter.

West Limestone Principal Charlotte Craig said since Bailee has moved, she considers the situation solved.

Bailee and her mom said that's no solution at all and problems persist at West Limestone.

For more information on bullying in school, from other students as well as teachers, consult BullyingStatistics.org or Make Beats Not Beat-downs.  

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly