In an odd — and tragic — bit of irony, a high school student from Brunswick, Maryland, was bullied (on camera) by peers this week. While such actions are, unfortunately, quite common in our society, this incident was different. The harassment took place while the student, Preston Deener, was preparing to be interviewed on television about the phenomenon of bullying.
As he was getting ready to discuss the harassment issues he has personally encountered, three boys approached him and one of them began hitting him on the head. So, while he was trying to bring awareness to an important issue that has personally impacted him, he very publicly began facing intense torment in front of a reporter and cameraman.
“The student came up to me and pushed me out of the way and said ‘What are you recording?’,” Preston said, according to WHAG-TV. “All of sudden, the student was chasing me and I needed some help.”
Deener quickly ran from the boys in an effort to get assistance (this can be viewed in news reports and video that captured the incident). Just one week before the media came to interview the boy, he was suspended from school for three days.
The harsh action was taken after Deener fought back against a student who was harassing him during a separate incident. Now, Cheryl Deener, the boy’s mother, is hoping the district takes decisive action.
“I’m hoping now that they take this more seriously than what they have,” Cheryl said, referring to the most recent bullying that was captured on film. “Preston is very strong but I think he’s a little bit shaken up with what happened today.”
Frederick County Public Schools staffer Michael Doerrer said that the district is looking into the matter after WHAG shared footage of the incident with officials and police.
But Preston and his mother are looking to turn the situation around and they’re planning an anti-bullying dance on Friday night. The goal? To bring awareness to the harassment that young people, like Preston, face on a daily basis.