SHEFFIELD, Ala. — A 9-year-old Alabama girl is recovering from injuries she sustained earlier this week when another child at her school got angry with her because of her friendship with a classmate, the girl’s mother said.
Kelly Turpin told AL.com that her daughter, Lanny, suffered a concussion, two black eyes and scrapes and bruises to her face in the incident at L.E. Willson Elementary School. The school is located in Sheffield, a city of just under 10,000 people in northwest Alabama.
Turpin said she was called Friday morning to the school, where she found her daughter covered in blood. School officials initially told her that Lanny had been injured accidentally, she said to both AL.com and WHNT News 19 in Huntsville.
"My child started talking right then and said, 'No, Momma, I told them she grabbed me and pulled me and jumped on top of me,'" Turpin told WHNT.
Lanny told her mother that she and other classmates were walking through an outdoor breezeway on their way back from art class when the other girl jumped on her. AL.com reported that Lanny's head hit a metal pole before she fell to the concrete.
The other girl was angry because Lanny was friends with another student at the school, Turpin said. She told AL.com that the girl told Lanny after she was injured, “I’m so sorry. Don’t tell anybody I did it.”
Turpin had to take her daughter to the doctor, as well as to the hospital for a CT scan. Though in a lot of pain, Lanny is expected to be fine.
In photos she posted to Facebook the day of the incident, Lanny could be seen holding a wet paper towel to her bruises and bloody scrapes. In the post, Turpin angrily described the incident as "assault, not just bullying," and asked for prayers for her daughter, as well as for herself.
"Pray for me to calm down (because) this mama is livid!" Turpin wrote.
Another picture Turpin posted a few days later showed Lanny's injuries as they began to heal. She said Wednesday that Lanny was feeling a bit better.
Turpin and her husband are seeking the advice of an attorney and are considering homeschooling.
The distraught mother said her concern is the safety of her children in their schools, where her older daughter also went through bullying. She said the girl who hurt Lanny had been picking on her since before Friday’s incident.
"Nothing has changed when we've gone to the school about the bullying," Turpin told AL.com. "I just want them safe at school."
Turpin said that, although she was initially told that her daughter’s attacker would be suspended for two days, she later heard that nothing had been done to discipline the child.
Tony Willis, principal of Willson Elementary, told AL.com that he couldn't comment on the incident because Turpin had spoken to an attorney, but offered a general statement about how the school handles bullying.
“With any incident, we're going to look into it and follow our code of conduct to the letter,” Willis said. “We try to be proactive rather than reactive and make sure students are comfortable enough to talk with us when they encounter problems.”
Keith Lankford, superintendent of Sheffield City Schools, told WHNT that school officials were not informed of the bullying situation Turpin's daughter was in until after the incident. He told the news station that the incident was under investigation and that the district would enforce the school's code of conduct.