Meet eight-year-old Anna Cymbaluk and her seven-year-old brother Ben from Minnesota. Their mother, Sarah, shot a video of the children, with Anna in tears, describing the constant harassment by bullies they experience at school, and uploaded it to a local news channel’s Facebook page last Wednesday.
“Tell me how it makes you feel” Sarah asks her daughter. “It makes me feel sad, and scared.” Anna repies.
The children say the abuse starts on the schoolbus every day, where the driver once told Anna to “Sit your (expletive) down!”
An older boy on the bus also threatens the children and called a high school girl who sits near them a lesbian. Another bully on the playground told Ben he’s going to die in a suicide, and Anna was injured as recently as Wednesday when a bully stabbed her in the palm with a pencil.
Anna and her mother have asked the principal of Magelssen Elementary to intervene on many occasions, but the school’s reaction has been dismissive. So finally, after five meetings with administrators since December produced no results, Sarah Cymbaluk turned to Facebook.
The video instantly went viral and finally, little Anna had the school’s attention.
“Can you tell me how many times you’ve been in and told the principal about it?” her mother asked.
“Like five.” Anna replied.
“And what have they done about it?”
Worried about the school’s image, school and Fosston district administrators called Jon and Anna Cymbaluk into a meeting a day later, where their first words to the parents were ‘What are you going to do to make us look good?’ and asked them to remove the video. The principal suggested Anna be sent to see a counselor, but her mother Sarah replied, “My kids are not the ones doing this, they should not be pulled out of class.”