By Joseph Johnson

The mother of a Carterville, Missouri teen who was assaulted at a school bus stop is mad as hell. And who can blame her? She trusted the Webb City School District to protect her son. They failed, and she is placing part of the blame on herself.

That compounds the tragedy.

Anita Demery, of Carterville has been a foster parent for years, even adopting many of the children left in her care. In her book, they are not “foster children.” They are her kids. And when she received word that her son Brett had been beaten, her heart broke. Brett’s injuries have resulted in broken bones and surgery.

Wendy Estes can share Anita’s pain. Her seven year old son Austin was recently choked by another student while riding a Carthage R9 school bus. She say’s that the school basically blew her off, calling the assault “horse play” when she tried to get answers.

Both women have been let down by their school districts. The children have suffered even greater still.

This Sunday, the two women will join forces to raise awareness about bullying by holding a rally at 317 North Fountain Road in Carterville, Missouri. Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) are also scheduled to attend the rally, which begins at 4:00pm.

These assaults, which have been soft-sold as “bullying” are happening with increased frequency. Years ago, a bully was someone who might give you a wedgie if they were feeling particularly mean. Today, they are outright assaulting their peers, with no serious consequences to face. Especially when the school districts practically provide more protection to the perpetrator than the victim.

Just over a year ago, the bullying directed towards Carl Junction teen Luke Nugent became so fierce, that the boy took his own life. Stories like this, and the ones mentioned above, are becoming all too common.

Something has to give, and it needs to happen soon. Otherwise, I predict that we are going to see justice taken into the hands of the parents of these assaulted children.

I know that if it were my children…things could get ugly quick.