Judge grants restraining order against Lakeland middle school bully

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A Polk County couple says their son’s school put him in danger after he was beaten up by a much bigger kid.

Last month, Elijah Brown was leaving Sleepy Hill Middle School. He was a few steps off school property when another kid approached him and demanded that he hand over a can of popcorn that he was selling for a school fundraiser.

When Elijah refused, police say the boy beat Elijah up.

He was beaten so badly, he went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion. The other boy was charged with battery.

Brown says he told the school resource officer, as well as a member of the staff, about the incident.

“They told us because it happened off school property, they were not [responsible for keeping] my son safe at school, or anything else,” said Elijah’s dad, Joseph Brown. “They should have either had that child removed from school or separated in a way that there would have been no way that he would have seen him in the hallway."

But Brown says that did not happen. The following week when Elijah went back to school, he says the kid threatened to beat him up again.

That’s when Elijah’s parents decided to take matters into their own hands. They went to court and got a restraining order against the boy.

Only then did Sleepy Hill transfer the child to another school.

“There is no question in my mind, our district takes these issues very seriously and reacted as quickly as they could,” said Lynn Wilson, the chairman of the Polk County School Board.