Mom questions why solution took so long in Wilson County virtual learning cyberbullying incident

Investigators

WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) — There are new developments in a story CBS 17 first brought you last week about the cyberbullying of a 6th grader at a Wilson school after Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia began asking why it took so long for anything to be done. 

“It’s scary because you don’t know who it is, don’t know where they are located or the length of the reach they have to you,” said Sheleen White, the mother of cyberbullying victim Jaylen White. 

She is referring to the death threats and cyberbullying aimed at her son while he was distance learning at Wilson Preparatory Academy. 

White said the school initially thought Jaylen was the perpetrator and not the victim. 

“I found out the school didn’t believe it was him when I spoke to the administrator,” she said. 

White said it was only after she physically brought her son to the school building and had him log-on in front of school officials did they believe Jaylen was the victim, some three weeks into the school year. 

Initially White said, she had gone to Wilson police about the incidents but she claimed they never followed up. In a subsequent meeting between school officials and the police, she found out why police took no action. 

“I asked the officer in front of everybody why you didn’t contact me anymore,” she said.  

The officer told her, “When I called the school after you left on Friday, I talked to the assistant principal and he told me they had already run their report and they came to figure out it wasn’t Jaylen and there was no further need to investigate.”  

White said she was in shock. She also said the officer apologized to her. 

Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia followed up with the school, sending an email requesting an on-camera response to several questions including: 

  • How the school came to the decision that Jaylen was behind the hacking? 
  •  Why the school was quick to blame Jaylen? 
  •   What kind of investigation did it conduct which showed Jaylen was the perpetrator of the incidents? 

The school didn’t respond to Sbraccia’s specific questions, instead of sending an email reply that said in part, “It recently became aware of cyberbullying involving multiple individuals associated with the academy.” 

The school said it “took prompt remedial action” and “began an investigation of the allegations.” 

As part of its investigation, the school also said: “it notified local authorities, including but not limited to, the SBI.” 

As for White, she thinks the school needs to do better. 

“There is a security breach at the school,” she said. “They need to up their security because I don’t want this to happen to someone else’s child.”  

Jaylen is no longer enrolled at Wilson Preparatory Academy. His mother says he is at another school where she said he’s happier because he’s been able to complete his online classes without interruption. 

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