SHERWOOD, Ark. - Three days ago bikers zipped through Sherwood, escorting 8-year-old Alex Bruorton to school after a highly-celebrated anti-bullying rally. Since then, the smiles have traveled south and plans have reversed.
"We've decided to pull Alex from the district," Nichole Bruorton, Alex's mom says Thursday.
Alex will no longer be attending Sherwood Elementary.
Nichole says Monday's message stopped at the doorsteps of the school and didn't reach other students.
"They didn't get to see it, they didn't get to understand why we were there or why this big show of support for him," Nichole says.
She says the rally empowered Alex, but also gave him the courage to reveal more about what was happening to him on a daily basis.
"Unzipping his backpack or tripping him in the hallway, making faces at him at lunchtime across the room," Nichole says.
"I didn't realize that it was every single day."
Alex suffers from Cloves; a condition affecting his facial features.
Nichole moved Alex to Sherwood Elementary from another school and remained optimistic after seeing signs touting a zero-tolerance bullying policy.
It's a policy she no longer trusts.
" [It's] something that they can fall back on every time: 'Oh, well we have this policy in place,'" Nichole says.
"You're policy's not working."
The Pulaski County Special School District responded with the following prepared statement:
"Sherwood Elementary School does not have a problem with bullying. Any allegations brought to the administration are investigated and taken seriously, and that has always been the case. The administration, teachers and the other staff members are a tight-knit group who care greatly not only about the education of the students, but also for their well being as a whole.
"In addition, the school district has an active anti-bullying program. The activity recently where bike riders showed support for one of our students during a school day was not coordinated by the school or district. Nonetheless, the district's department of security worked closely with the school and Sherwood Police Department to ensure the event was safe for all included, since it involved a great deal of traffic coupled with a school filled with small children. In fact, during the event, the district's director of safety and security, who is a longtime anti-bullying ambassador, spoke to the group about the district's initiatives."
Nichole isn't convinced.
"You have a spotlight on you, and you're still not paying attention and not listening," Nichole says.
"How can I send my kid back there?"
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