School district disputes mom's claims over fight

September 14, 2011 3:06:58 PM PDT
Cell phone cameras recorded Daphne Melin egging on her 12-year-old daughter, as she fought with another girl.

And then, the 32-year-old mother lashed out at a third preteen, grabbing her by the hair and kneeing her at least twice in the face.

"I don't encourage fighting, I think it's the wrong thing to do," Melin told Eyewitness News on Tuesday night.

She blamed the William Floyd School District, insisting her daughter had been the victim of bullying and threats of physical violence online, actions she claims administrators did nothing to stop.

So at her wits end, Melin's lawyer Michael Brown says she drove her daughter to the schoolyard to confront her tormenters.

"You get very frustrated with a couple of things. The lack of response by the authorities coupled with the fact that your daughter, who is an innocent person, is being continuously harassed," she said.

But school administrators say they did respond and quickly. They admit they did receive a complaint from Melin, but about a different girl from the ones who were in the fight.

"The student that we were investigating was not the students who were involved in the altercation. So it's really two different circumstances," Paul Casciano, the school superintendent, said.

He says so-called cyber bullying has become more and more common in this era of Facebook and a recently passed state law requires schools to be aggressive in tackling the issue.

But experts say there's no substitute for responsible supervision from parents.

If your child is in fact being threatened, they say you should always just call the police, which Melin never did.

Melin was released on bail and will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on December 1, 2011.