Mom Arrested After She 'Snuck' onto School Property to Confront Boy's Bullies

Jamie Rathburn speaks with reporters
WLTX/YouTube

By now, we've all seen countless PSAs and celebrity campaigns calling for bullying awareness. We've downloaded apps aimed at bullying prevention, and talked to our kids about the warning signs and when to speak up. And yet, bullying continues to rise. For kids who are mercilessly teased in school, the relentless daily struggle of it all can often be too much to bear. It can also be a lot on parents, who may feel the school isn't doing enough to intervene and wish they could take matters into their own hands. Such was the case recently for South Carolina mom Jamie Rathburn, who was so overcome with emotion one day that she stormed into her son's classroom to confront his bullies -- before getting arrested.

  • Rathburn entered Greenbrier Elementary School on May 17 and walked right into her 3rd-grade son's class, according to the Greenville News.

    As Rathburn later admitted in a report, she "snuck" onto school premises and confronted kids who had been reportedly teasing her son -- children that she estimated to be about 9 years old.

    Because she's an active "class mom" who often swings by the school during the day to drop off supplies or help out with certain events, she wasn't exactly an unfamiliar sight. But staff likely didn't expect what happened next.

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  • Rathburn didn't know who had been teasing her son, but reportedly said “she was not playing around and that they better stop messing with her kid.”

    In other words: She went full-on mama bear on them and didn't hold back. 

    After saying her piece, she reportedly left -- but three days later, she was arrested.

  • A deputy who later reviewed surveillance video watched as Rathburn entered school property without raising an eyebrow.

    She didn't exactly sneak in through a back entrance -- she walked through the front door of the school, shortly after morning drop-off. The only catch? She didn't sign in at the front entrance, despite a slew of signs clearly stating that all visitors are required to do so.

    Rathburn went to her son's classroom, where students were lined up against the wall, and began to “lift her finger in a pointing manner and circle around as if making sure all the kids heard her and were listening.”

    Without audio, deputies can't be exactly sure what Rathburn said, though witnesses describe her "screaming" at the children and "getting in their faces."

  • Another teacher reportedly overheard Rathburn saying she didn't know who was bullying her son, "but that she was going to find them and their moms.”

    To make matters worse, another teacher claimed that he was able to pull Rathburn into his classroom, but she didn't exactly calm down: She proceeded to curse at him before storming out.

  • Rathburn has since apologized for the outburst, and says she wishes she hadn't let emotions get the best of her.

    "I am absolutely ashamed of myself for the actions of walking up into that school," she told the Greenville News. "You know, I owe the parents, the children and the staff an apology for that. Absolutely, it was wrong. But honestly, I don't know how I could have gotten my message across any other way."

    Rathburn has been temporarily barred from school property, which she called "devastating," and a teacher has been assigned to watch the entrance to prevent further trespassing.

  • Although it's clear Rathburn's actions went too far, they do highlight the growing issue of bullying -- as well as what schools are doing to stop it.

    "Picking becomes bullying really quickly nowadays, and I've taught my kids not to tolerate it, so before something transpires could you address it," Rathburn told the newspaper.

    But what do you do when it just won't stop?

    Rathburn claims her son was called names, hit with a computer, and even pulled backward off of a playground slide -- by his throat. The teasing continued, Rathburn said, even after she alerted administrators, and her son was merely told "to ignore it."

    "I was becoming a statistic because nobody listened to me," she said. "I can't let that happen to my child. I don't know when I should be concerned about these issues, but I feel like it's now because in five years it's too late."

  • This isn't the only incident of its kind to make headlines. In May, a California mom was also banned from her child's school for confronting a class.

    In that case, the mother -- identified as Christian Tinsley -- walked into her tween daughter's classroom at Niguel Hills Middle School and told the students: “If you all bully my daughter, if you look at her the wrong way, if you breathe the wrong way, send your mom to me. Sisters, aunts, anybody over 18, I’ll f--- them all up. Do you understand me?”

    The incident was captured on a student's cellphone, which has since made the rounds on social media. Although Tinsley wasn't arrested, she was banned from school premises.

    In the end, Tinsley shared regret over how she handled the situation, but like Rathburn, she expressed frustration over not feeling her daughter's school was taking the matter seriously.

    “I think that sometimes when you’ve done everything you can do the way you’re supposed to do it, and it hasn’t been resolved, then sometimes as a parent … you have to decide if you’re going to go a step further and deal with any consequences," she said.

  • Rathburn admits she "probably was seeming like a bully" when she unleashed her anger at her son's school, and she is "not proud of it."

    She insists, however, that she didn't know what else to do. 

    Still, the school district told WLTX that Rathburn should have taken the matter up with district officials, which she had not yet done. 

    "It is never okay to confront other people's children," a representative told the station, "and to use foul language with them, and to use threatening language with them."