BRYSON CITY, NC (WLOS/CNN) – A North Carolina mother says a teenager who allegedly took a picture of her 11-year-old son in the bathroom and began bullying him received too light of a punishment because he's a star athlete.
Nicole Parton says an eighth-grade teammate followed her sixth-grade son into the bathroom at baseball practice. The boy placed his phone over a stall and took a picture of the 11-year-old, she says.
"He then went out of the bathroom and showed the picture, which was of my son's penis, to his teammates,” Parton said.
The mother says they ridiculed her son, even into that night during a video game group chat.
"Another boy who was not on the team said, 'Oh, hey, I seen the picture. I heard about your picture’ and started making fun of him, yet again,” Parton said.
The Swain County Middle School principal suspended the eighth-grader for several days starting on April 27. Under the school district’s policy, he was also barred from baseball for the month.
Parton says the boy missed one game and came back in May. She felt the punishment was too light, so she talked to the coach.
"This kid in particular is one of the star players,” Parton said. "His [The coach’s] reply to us was taking baseball away from a natural athlete, as this boy, is too harsh of a punishment; it's not fair to him.”
The mother also says the bullying continued on social media, and it got so bad her son quit the team.
Now, Parton says she won’t quit fighting for her son.
"The problem is they're sending the wrong message to my son and other kids that are bullied. That coming forward and reporting it – you're going to suffer the consequences, but a bully is going to get smacked on the hand,” she said.
A local sheriff says a juvenile court counselor is looking into the case.
Copyright 2018 WLOS, Darren Botelho via CNN. All rights reserved.