Group offers support to Wichita mom who says teacher cyber-bullied kindergartner

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Update Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018

An advocacy group offers support to a Wichita mom who says a kindergarten teacher cyber-bullied her daughter.

The Wichita school district is investigating the teacher who posted photos on Instagram of a crying student with a caption, the child's mother says, pokes fun at her daughter.

The group offering support is now looking into the district's social-media policy.

Danna Copeland who runs a group advocating for parents and students says she's dealt with a lot of bullying issues, but this is the first time she's heard of a teacher being accused of bullying a student.

"Instead of sitting there comforting her, she's posting pictures on Instagram, laughing at her," Copeland says of the teacher. "...It kind of moved me only because cyber-bullying is a big issue at USD 259, and for a teacher to cyberbully, I was very concerned about it."

Copeland's group advocating for parents is called "Parents Who Care." Representing the group in the corner of the kindergartner's mother, Copeland says she'd like to see the Gammon Elementary School teacher accused of cyber-bullying the child removed from her position.

"Actually, I don't really think she has the right to teach anymore at USD 259," Copeland says.

Copleand says she's in contact with the district.

The Wichita school district's social media guidelines say to use common sense and "follow standards for the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act."

Tuesday, Eyewitness News also looked at social media guidelines for employees of other local districts.

Newton's guidelines say not to share student pictures on social-media sites.

Maize's handbook says, "Staff members should not engage in name calling or behavior that will reflect negatively on the district's reputation."

Guidelines for Andover say not to use student photos without asking the district office first.

Questions we're asking include why it took the district two or three days to notify the child's mother about the incident involving the teacher's Instagram post and clarity on its policy when it comes to teachers and accusations of bullying students.

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Monday, Oct. 1, 2018

A Wichita mom says her daughter's teacher posted a picture of her child crying on Instagram. She says the post included a caption that poked fun at her daughter's emotions.

Not only is the mom upset, but the district says it's taking this very seriously and investigating.

The student's mom says she tried to get copies of the photos her daughter's teacher posted on Instagram, but the school wouldn't give them to her.

"She just made fun of her and humiliated her for everyone on her Instagram to see," says the student's mom, Breanna. "I almost started to cry because it was just like her teacher was doing this to her because she does have developmental issues already."

Breanna says her daughter's teacher took photos of the kindergartner and posted them to Instagram with captions making fun of her five-year-old.

"They were all three of her crying, and in one of them she was like sobbing into her jacket," said Breanna. "She was crying, and in one of the pictures she put, 'this is fake crying, and this is what I have to deal with, and she makes her self throw up too ya’ll,' and she put like the laughing with the tears emojis, and she put lol."

She says the principal at Gammon Elementary called her to tell her about the photos.

Breanna says the teacher sent her an apology letter, and the district confirms the teacher sent a letter.

In it, she says "I'm sincerely sorry from the bottom of my heart."

"It was never intended to hurt or embarrass anyone."

"I made a careless and innocent mistake by posting a picture of her, which then got completely blown out of proportion."

"Instead of sitting there comforting her, she’s taking pictures and posting them on her Instagram, laughing at her, and that’s not okay, and the school they didn’t suspend her or anything," said Breanna.

Eyewitness News has reached out to the teacher, but she has not responded.