A Bellevue family who moved their fourth-grade daughter from Ardmore Elementary this school year to a new school in the Bellevue School District after they claim she was bullied, has moved her once again — this time out of state.
“Due to the persistent bullying and harassment from the BSD, the Andrews family has painfully decided to send all three of our children back to Georgia to live and go to school, while the parents stay here in Washington,” according to a statement from the girl’s parents, Travis and Chantey Andrews.
Their daughter, Nasir, shared her bully story via a Facebook video in 2017 that went viral. She said students at her previous school hurt her and stole snacks from her. As one of about 30 African-American students at Ardmore, Nasir was called “Nutella” and “servant” throughout the 2016-17 school year.
After learning the incidents throughout the school year hadn’t been documented, the family filed a harassment, intimidation and bullying complaint with the district.
However, throughout the investigation process, and later when the district delivered its findings, the Andrews felt the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying guiding policy was flawed. The Andrews subsequently filed a tort claim, or request for mediation, in mid-July 2017 with the district.
But the bullying continued at the new school, the family said.
They said in November 2017 Cherry Crest Elementary staff accused Nasir of stealing an ice cream, stopped her and searched her jacket. However, she did not have an ice cream in her possession, leaving her to feel publicly humiliated in front of her peers, the family said.
“Because of the ongoing bullying, the family is forced [to] displace and move the children across the country to go to school,” the Andrews’ statement continues. “Despite attempting to transfer out of the district and failing, collecting nearly 15,000 signatures on their petition at Change.org and trying to work with the BSD, all options have been exhausted. The family is hoping that this conversation can once more elevate to a higher stage to reinforce how serious the impacts of bullying are on families and students across our country.”
The Bellevue School District said in a statement that officials are “saddened” to learn that the Andrews family has chosen to relocate their children “but respect their decision. Our hope is that the Andrews children are successful and happy in their new school and throughout their academic careers.”
The district continued that it takes allegations of harassment, intimidation and bullying very seriously, and it is committed to ensuring that all students are provided a safe and civil educational environment free of all types of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
“We are currently engaging with the community through our Safe Students/Safe Schools Community Advisory Group to collect ideas on how our schools can further create a more positive climate and culture, free from harassment, intimidation and bullying,” according to the district.